Meanwhile, the ERS estimated U.S. imports of fruit, fruit preparations and juice would total $5.3 billion in fiscal 2003. That estimate was up $100 million from the February forecast.
From January through March, the USDA said fresh citrus imports — led by the return of Spanish clementines to the U.S. market — were up 74% to $60 million. In the same period, the value of avocado imports was up 10% and pineapple imports soared 32%, while grape imports were down 12% and melon imports were off 11%
Meanwhile, exports of U.S. horticultural products also were revised upward in the May report. U.S. exports of fruits and preparations were estimated at $3.5 billion, up $100 million from the February forecast.
Export sales of U.S. fresh fruit from January through March totaled $504 million, up slightly more than 3% compared to the same quarter last year. Sales to Canada were up 7% and 3% greater to Japan but off 14% to Mexico.
U.S. apple exports during the months of January through March totaled $110 million, off 8% compared to the same period last year. While sales to Canada rose 14%, sales to Taiwan were off 26% and exports to Mexico were down 23%.
The slower sales to Mexico have been attributed to a 46% antidumping tariff imposed since last August on U.S. red and golden delicious apples. Apple industry leaders and lobbyists are working to remove the tariff, Powers said.
Meanwhile, he said U.S. plant health officials were expected to meet with their Taiwanese counterparts on June 7 as they attempt to reach an agreement for a new protocol for apple shipments to Japan.
Taiwanese officials banned U.S. apple shipments in November after the reported discoveries of codling moths in shipments of California and Washington apples. Shipments were allowed to resume on an interim basis in December, but Powers said a new work plan must be in place before U.S. marketers can export 2003 crop apples to Taiwan.
Taiwan typically buys several million cartons of U.S. apples — mostly high-dollar fujis — each year.
The fiscal 2003 estimate for U.S. exports of vegetables and preparations totaled $3.1 billion, unchanged from February.
Exports of U.S. fresh vegetables in the period of January through March totaled $307 million, down 3% from $317 million the same period last year.