UF’s Guan Highlights Trade Deficit with Mexico During Outlook Conference

Web Admin Trade

By Clint Thompson

The United States’ trade deficit with Mexico regarding fresh fruits and vegetables directly impacts Florida’s specialty crop producers. With imports from Mexico intensifying in recent years, the problem has increasingly become worse, according to University of Florida (UF) associate professor Zhengfei Guan.

Trade deficit

He highlighted the problem during last week’s Florida Agricultural Policy Outlook Conference.

Zhengfei Guan

“We see that exports to Mexico were very small (last year). Last year was less than $1 billion. We imported a lot; it’s like $17 billion. In total, we have a trade deficit in fresh fruits and vegetables, this trade only, was about $16 billion last year,” Guan said. “In the year 2010, we had about $2.5 billion for (fruit) imports, but in 2022 that was over $9 billion. That increased about 3 to 4 times over the last 12 years or so.

“In 2010, (fresh vegetable imports) were like $3.5 billion, but in 2020 it was close to $8 billion.”

The top fruiting imports from Mexico in 2022 included avocado, raspberry, strawberry, citrus, blueberry and watermelon. The top vegetable imports were led by tomato at $2.5 billion or 4 billion pounds, followed by pepper and cucumber.

“All of these are major Florida crops. We are under tremendous pressure from Mexican imports,” Guan said.