One vegetable commodity at the center of an investigation pertaining to its imports from other countries was highlighted during Georgia’s Ag Forecast meeting last Friday.
Greg Fonsah, University of Georgia Agribusiness Extension economist, pointed out how significantly bell pepper imports have increased over the past two decades.
In 2019, 68% of bell peppers that were consumed in the U.S. were imported, amounting to 1.61 million pounds. Bell pepper imports have increased by 5% annually for the past five years. Most of the imports originate from Mexico, 75% in fact, with Canada contributing 18%.
“You can see how the fresh imports started growing from the year 2000 and has been growing steadily. It’s doubled, it’s tripled all the way to 2020. We think by 2021, it’s going to go all the way up here, it’s still going to increase, the same as the import share for the availability,” Fonsah said. “You can see how it’s increasing, increasing, increasing, and it keeps increasing. We expect to see the same thing in 2021.”
Encouraged by Congressional support, the U.S. Trade Representative requested a Section 332 investigation last November to the U.S. International Trade Commission into the imports of strawberry and bell pepper.