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U.S. looking for trade action against fresh produce imports

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Fresh produce coming into the United States is getting increasing scrutiny from the Trump Administration. Imported strawberries are now on the list of imported items that the administration wants to be investigated for possibly harming U.S. fruit and vegetable growers. Strawberry imports, mainly from Mexico, represent about 16 percent of the U.S. market, valued at approximately $2.5 billion every year. If the investigation proceeds, any potential trade action could result in higher strawberry prices in the U.S. market.

Officials are also requesting a probe into the imports of fresh peppers, which is the second-largest vegetable import into America. U.S. imports of strawberries totaled 184 million tons last year, a fourfold jump since 2005. About 99 percent of the imports come from Mexico, where a weak peso has made exports much more competitive with domestic production. U.S. farmers, especially in the Southeastern states, say the low-priced imports are putting domestic growers at a significant disadvantage. A similar Section 201 investigation by the U.S. International Trade Commission was recently requested for blueberry imports into the U.S.