U.S. and Canadian Fruit and Vegetable Companies Unite to Support Modernization of NAFTA

Produce Coalition for NAFTA is Formed to Defend and Improve NAFTA’s Benefits for the Produce Sector and Consumers

Leading U.S. and Canadian fruit and vegetable companies have formed the Produce Coalition for NAFTA to jointly support efforts to modernize NAFTA, while maintaining duty-free access for produce within the NAFTA countries.  The Produce Coalition for NAFTA believes important issues like border procedures, harmonization of regulations and the protection of intellectual property offer opportunities for real improvements in free trade.

The Produce Coalition is concerned, however, that the NAFTA negotiations could be used to impose new trade barriers instead of eliminating them.  Proposals to make it easier to impose anti-dumping duties on produce, for example, threaten the success of the cross-border fruit and vegetable trade and could result in increased tariffs that negatively impact growers in all three countries as well as U.S. consumers.

GOOD FOR THE
CONSUMER AND GROWERS

NAFTA eliminated tariffs and resulted in more year-round availability for the U.S. consumer.  Consumers are eating healthier options, with U.S. per capital consumption of fresh vegetables reaching 145.1 pound per year, a 14% increase from the 126.8 pounds per year in 1993 before NAFTA was enacted.   

While there have been considerable increases of produce imports since the inception of NAFTA, the domestic production value of fruits and vegetables within the United States has expanded as well.

FREE-TRADE BENEFITS

In order to meet the year-round market demand for nutritious fruits and vegetables, geographical growing regions need to change with the seasons.  Typically, this means during the winter, growing production begins in Mexico, and then moves to the United States and Canada with the approach of warm weather.  The total value of agricultural trade (exports and imports) among all three NAFTA countries reached about $82.0 billion in 2013, compared with $16.7 billion in 1993 (the year before NAFTA’s implementation).  Phenomenal agriculture growth coming out of Mexico since NAFTA can also be attributed to the millions of dollars invested in technology and growing innovations.

The Produce Coalition for NAFTA looks forward to modernizing NAFTA and believes the guiding principal of the negotiations should be to maintain duty free access for agriculture goods within NAFTA countries.  The Coalition will continue to support efforts that improve consumer and marketplace needs.