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USITC Releases Report Concerning Effect of Imports on U.S. Seasonal Cucumber Market

January 7, 2022
News Release 21-001
Inv. No. 332-583
Contact: Jennifer Andberg, 202-205-1819
USITC Releases Report Concerning Effect of Imports on U.S. Seasonal Cucumber Market

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) today released its report concerning the effect of imports on the U.S. seasonal cucumber market, with a focus on the U.S. Southeast region.

The investigation, Cucumbers: Effect of Imports on U.S. Seasonal Markets, with a Focus on the U.S. Southeast, was requested by the United States Trade Representative in a letter received on December 7, 2020. 

As requested, the USITC, an independent, nonpartisan federal agency, assessed the effect of imports on the domestic seasonal market for cucumbers, with a particular focus on production and competitiveness of cucumbers grown in the U.S. Southeast.

The USITC findings include:

  • Between 2015 and 2020, the period covered by the investigation, cucumber production in the United States fell from approximately 826,000 metric tons (mt) to 636,000 mt, while U.S. domestic market share fell from around half to about 40 percent. At the same time, apparent consumption of cucumbers in the United States increased by 24.3 percent.
  • The U.S. fresh market cucumber industry is a high-cost producer of somewhat differentiated products, supplying primarily American slicer cucumbers, at both the national level and specifically within the U.S. Southeast. The U.S. industry faces high costs of production, weather-related volatility, and pest pressures that limit competitiveness, particularly in the U.S. Southeast. 
  • Mexico is a competitive, lower-cost supplier of highly differentiated products, including American slicer cucumbers, and several premium varieties. Mexico has a reputation for consistently high product quality and preferential packing and sorting made possible with protected agriculture and low wage rates.
  • Canada is a high-cost supplier of highly differentiated, premium products, mainly greenhouse-grown English cucumbers. High-technology greenhouses in Canada facilitate production of more delicate premium varieties, consistent quality, and greater yields, as well as an extended growing season.
  • Available price data show that prices for domestic and imported cucumbers are often very similar and tend to follow similar trends.
  • Absent above-average increases in U.S. imports of cucumbers from Mexico from 2008 to 2020, the USITC’s economic model estimates that import prices would have been higher, leading to a shift towards consumption of domestic cucumbers and increased U.S. production, revenue, and operating income in 2015-20.

Cucumbers: Effect of Imports on U.S. Seasonal Markets, with a Focus on the U.S. Southeast (Investigation No. 332-583, USITC Publication 5268, December 2021) is available on the USITC's Internet site at https://www.usitc.gov/publications/332/pub5268.pdf. The modeling underlying the analyses associated with this report is available at https://www.usitc.gov/publications/332.

USITC general factfinding investigations, such as this one, cover matters related to tariffs or trade and are generally conducted at the request of the U.S. Trade Representative, the House Committee on Ways and Means, or the Senate Committee on Finance. The resulting report conveys the Commission's objective findings and independent analyses on the subjects investigated. The Commission makes no recommendations on policy or other matters in its general factfinding reports. Upon completion of each investigation, the USITC submits its findings and analyses to the requester. General factfinding investigation reports are subsequently released to the public, unless they are classified by the requester for national security reasons.

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