Agricultural Trade:

Trends in Imports of Fruits, Vegetables, and Other Agricultural Products

RCED-87-177FS: Published: Sep 29, 1987. Publicly Released: Nov 2, 1987.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the recent rise in fruit and vegetable imports and its effect on American farmers and food manufacturers.

GAO found that: (1) the U.S. agricultural trade balance has declined each year for the past 5 years, with a rise in agricultural imports contributing to this decline; (2) fruits and vegetables comprised almost a quarter of competitive imports in 1986, with almost a quarter of these coming from Mexico and 16 percent from Europe; (3) fruit imports quadrupled from 1975 through 1986; (4) vegetable imports almost tripled from 1975 through 1986; and (5) a steady rise in U.S. foreign capital investments in the food industry accompanied the rising trend of agricultural imports. GAO also found that the total U.S. agricultural trade balance with: (1) Mexico declined from a positive $1.4 billion in 1980 to a negative $944 million in 1986; (2) Canada declined from a positive $839 million in 1981 to a negative $463 million in 1986; (3) South American countries remained negative from 1980 through 1986; (4) Europe declined steadily from 1981 to 1985; (5) Oceania remained at a fairly consistent negative level from 1980 through 1986; (6) Asia remained positive from 1980 through 1986, although trending downward; and (7) Africa remained relatively stable from 1980 through 1986.

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