National Editor Tom Karst
National Editor Tom Karst

The USDA issued the import/export trade figures for May on July 11. Check out the landing page here.

It appears both exports and imports of fresh fruit were quite strong in the year-to-date numbers, while vegetable exports suffered and vegetable imports posted modest gains.

Fiscal year 2012 U.S. fresh fruit exports to date (October 2011 to May 2012) were rated at $2.93 billion, up 7.94% from the same period last year.

The value of fresh exports to Canada grew 3%, with Japan up 5.7% and Mexico up a whopping 32%.

On the other hand, U.S. fresh vegetable exports for fiscal year 2012 were rated at $1.4 billion, down 6.5% from a year ago.  The top three countries for U.S. vegetable exports were all down, with Canada off 6.5%, Mexico off 18.7% and Japan off 5.6%.

Turning to imports, U.S. imports of vegetables from October to May were $4.4 billion, up 4.9% from the same period a year ago. Top imports sources were Mexico (up 8.4%), Canada (down 6%) and Peru (down 4.8%).

Imports of bananas and plantains from October through May were $1.3 billion, up 4.9% from the same period a year ago.  Imports of bananas and plantains from Guatemala wre up 19.7%, with Ecuador off 8.2% and Costa Rica off 4.5%.

Imports of other fresh fruit (besides bananas and plantains) were $4.2 billion, up 7% from October through May a year ago.  Imports from Mexico - the leading source for "other fresh fruit" - were up a impressive 17.4%, while the value of imports from Chile was down 2%, with third place Costa Rica up 10.8%.