For the past few decades, the trade deficit in processed and fresh fruits and vegetables in United States are slowly escalating to a real issue.
Despite the fact that the export figure of fruits and vegetables in the nation has an accumulated of more than six billion dollars in 2015, US imports were close to eighteen billion dollars.
This results in a massive gap between exports and imports of roughly eleven billion dollars for that year.
It is Just the Beginning
And mind you, this deficit didn’t stop there. Over time, it grows bigger and bigger since growth in imports outpaced growth in exports. Thus, US has gone from being a net exporter of high protein vegetables and fruits in the 1970s to now having net trade balance in mid-90s to becoming a net importer today.
This is a real issue in the nation and several state politicians of different power are doing the best of their ability to address this challenge.
As a matter of fact, there are several factors that shape the conditions of current competitive market in fruits and vegetables. In buildup to farm bill in 2008 or the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008, P.L. 110-246, trade situation is demanding that the Congress start considering expanding the support for domestic growers of fruits and vegetables in this farm bill legislation. Historically, specialty crops hadn’t benefited from programs provided by federal farm support that’s included in farm bill. This is in comparison to long-standing support that’s provided to primary program commodities similar to oilseeds, sugar, milk, cotton and grains.
A Proposed Solution to Address the Problem
The farm bill of 2008 and later updated to 2014 farm bill or the Agricultural Act of 2014, P.L. 113-79 has provided extra support for programs that are supporting the production of vegetable and fruits and at the same time, tried to address existing trade barriers as well as marketing of US specialty crops. This report has presented the recent trends in US fruit and vegetable trade and has highlighted some factors that are contributing to the said trend.
As for the summary however, it has excluded trade date for processed tree nut and tree nuts products. Although it is not included here, exports and import performance of both processed and tree nuts products in the US showed a positive jump to growing US trade surplus.