Report on Seasonal and Perishable Products in U.S. Commerce



Robert E. Lighthizer | Wilbur L. Ross, Jr. | Sonny Perdue | United States Trade Representative

Executive Summary

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the United States Department of Commerce (Commerce) have jointly prepared this report outlining the Trump Administration’s plan to address threats that increased imports pose to American producers of seasonal and perishable fruits and vegetables.

Perishable fruit and vegetable producers face unique challenges because of the short window of time during which their produce retains the freshness that retailers and consumers demand. Given this narrow window of marketability, American fruit and vegetable producers’ profitability can be devastated when imports of a product surge immediately before or during the domestic growers’ marketing window for that product. This challenge is compounded when imported products are sold to the consumer at lower prices than the domestically grown produce, and particularly so if the import prices are significantly and artificially lower due to unfair trade practices.

Furthermore, while multiple regions of the United States may be suitable for growing a particular commodity, the disparate climates and temperature patterns among those regions create distinct marketing windows for each region that vary from one another. As such, different regions within the United States that grow the same seasonal commodity can be affected and potentially injured by import competition to drastically differing degrees. The various regions also may differ with regard to the sub-markets in which they primarily market their products. For example, blueberry farmers in Florida and Georgia may have to compete primarily against imports from a particular country in that region’s marketing window, Michigan blueberry farmers against a different country in their window, while blueberry farmers in the northwest in Washington and Oregon may face altogether different competitive dynamics.

Given the unparalleled variety of seasonal specialty crops grown in the United States, the differing marketing windows among regions growing those crops, and the variability of import competition for each crop, there are contrasting opinions on this matter that vary by crop and largely by region of the country. Generally, it is predominantly fruit and vegetable producers in southeastern U.S. states who contend that they are adversely affected by import competition from Mexico, whereas producers and stakeholders in California and western states generally consider foreign production to be countercyclical and beneficially complementary to domestic production in their region.


Wilbur L. Ross is the Jr. Secretary at the United States Department of Commerce.

Sonny Perdue is the Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture.

Robert E. Lighthizer is the Ambassador to the Office of the United States Trade Representative 

To read the full report, please click here