Stay Connected

Follow ERS on Twitter
Subscribe to RSS feeds
Subscribe to ERS e-Newsletters.aspx
Listen to ERS podcasts
Read ERS blogs at USDA



This data product combines data from ERS, USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Bank. Data from APHIS as of July 2014 provide information on which countries producing fresh fruits and vegetables were eligible to export to the United States.

Commodity Coverage

The commodities in this data product include 23 fruits and 19 vegetables for which ERS conducts market analysis. These commodities, which represent those Americans consumed most per capita according to 2012 ERS Fruit and Vegetable yearbook figures, are included in the Census of Agriculture, published by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

Included here are only those fruits and vegetables sold and consumed fresh. This data product does not include dry edible beans and does not include fruits and vegetables that have been dried, canned, or otherwise processed. The Commodity Name Concordance Excel icon (16x16) describes in detail how product categories are defined across U.S. Census trade data and APHIS inspections data. When possible, commodity-specific data are given based on FAO statistics on eligibility, production, and export and based on APHIS statistics on the inspection outcomes and commodity import regulations.

For more information on individual commodities, see the ERS Fruit and Tree Nuts and Vegetables and Pulses topics. In this data product, melons and olives are classified as fruit. In ERS market analysis, olives are classified as fruit and melons as vegetables.

APHIS Data on Country Eligibility

APHIS data on countries eligible to export fresh fruits and vegetables to the United States in were obtained from APHIS Fruit and Vegetable Import Requirement (FAVIR), along with more detailed data on pre-shipment treatment and documentation requirements, entry and regionalization restrictions, and possible systems approach protocols. These phytosanitary requirements for each country and commodity are also published as final rules in the Code of Federal Regulations (7CFR 319.56 Subpart-Fruits and Vegetables or Q56) and compiled in the Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Import ManualPDF icon (16x16), publicly available from the APHIS Web site These rules are subject to change at APHIS’s  discretion  in accordance with its established procedures for mitigating risk. For the most current information on commodities eligible to import from a specific country, contact APHIS.

Some commodities have restrictions on what regions they are allowed to be imported from within producing countries. For example, apples from Argentina can only be imported from  Patagonia provinces which has been declared free of the Mediterranean fruit fly Ceratitis capitata and Anastrepha spp. Because no international source exists for production and trade data by region within countries, this data product uses only national totals published by FAO. For this reason, statistics giving the percentages of production or trade eligible to enter the United States should be considered an upper bound.

Country Classification

The term "country" in this data product refers to countries, areas, and territories that APHIS identifies as eligible to export fresh fruits and vegetables to the United States. Available FAO production and trade data for these exporters are reported to provide information on their absolute and relative importance in global markets for fresh fruits and vegetables.

FAO does not always report separate production and trade statistics for 21 eligible exporters that are territories, departments, or other types of political dependency on a United Nations member(see Country Name ConcordanceExcel icon (16x16)). French Guiana, which is a department of France, is one such example. Data for Hong Kong and Taiwan are reported separately from data for mainland China in some FAOSTAT databases, e.g., detailed production data in ProdStat--but not others. See FAOSTAT Country Classifications for more information.

Country Income Level

Countries were identified as high- or middle-to-low income using the country classification developed and published by the World Bank. The World Bank classifies member countries and other countries with populations greater than 30,000 as low income, lower middle income, upper middle income, and high income based on per capita gross national income (GNI). Data on per capita gross domestic product (GDP) from the Central Intelligence Agency's World Factbook were used to identify the income level of 12 countries that not addressed in the World Bank data. These countries are as follows: Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cook Islands, Curacao, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Montserrat, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin, Taiwan, and Turks and Caicos.

FAO Data on Global Production and Exports

Data on production quantities, export quantities and export value for each commodity and country was obtained from FAOSTAT, FAO's statistical databases. FAO compiles data from approximately 200 core reporting nations.

FAO data include only production and export quantities of 0.5 metric tons and greater, and totals and percentages reflect this limitation. In the Excel files for individual commodities, a "0" for production and/or export quantity includes volumes less than 0.5 metric tons.

In a few cases, countries exporting a commodity do not produce it domestically, according to FAO production and trade data. In other instances, the quantity of reported exports exceeds the quantity of reported domestic production. These anomalies in the data could be due to transshipments or other reasons. For more information, see "Notes to the WATM" on the FAOSTAT World Agricultural Trade Matrix (WATM) page.

The percent of world production eligible to enter the United States was calculated by dividing the total production of eligible countries by the total world production.  Similiarly, The percent of world exports eligible to enter the United States was calculated by dividing the total exports from eligible countries by the total world exports. These percentages will exceed the percentages of global production and exports that are actually shipped to the United States because countries generally do not export all that they produce and have multiple trading partners. Similar figures are also presented, based on the number of countries eligible to ship. 

For detailed information on U.S. imports and exports, see USDA Foreign Agricultural Service's U.S. Trade Internet System. For summary information, see ERS's Foreign Agricultural Trade of the United States data product.

U.S. Census Data on U.S. Imports and Tariff Rates

Trade data recording the volume of imports received from abroad is obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau within the Department of Commerce. Detailed descriptions of trade codes and information on legally established tariff rates can be found at the Web site of the United States International Trade Commission. Because tariff rates can vary seasonally and with the volume of imports, an average tariff rate is reported. 

APHIS Data on Inspections Outcome and Regulations

Data recording the outcome of agricultural inspections enforcing phytosanitary regulations were obtained from the APHIS PPQ 280 data systems.  In each shipment, a 4-letter disposition code is assigned that describes the risk and actions--if any, associated with shipment--as an outcome of the inspection.  Based on volumes, these disposition codes are used to calculate each commodity’s “risk rate” (the rate an inspection finds some risk for a given shipment) and “action rate” (the rate at which an inspection orders an action for a given shipment).  The rate at which goods enter the United States in a pre-cleared status as pre-cleared goods may not be recorded as an inspection with the PPQ 280 data system (although a mandatory treatment may be required). Additionally, the rates at which goods enter under the National Agricultural Release Program--an expedited entry program where low-risk goods are inspected intermittently at the discretion of APHIS and customs inspectors--are also provided.  Disposition code categories are described in the “Notes on Statistics” sheet of each commodity. See the 2014 ERS Report “The Effects of Phytosanitary Regulations on U.S. Imports of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables” for a detailed description of how these statistics are calculated. 


The author thanks John Morgan and Luyuan Niu for their valuable assistance in compiling these statistics and John Wainio for his work calculating average tariff rates. We also thank numerous experts in the Plant Protection and Quarantine branch of APHIS for providing data and helping interpret them. 

Other Links

World Bank, Data and Statistics contains country data derived, either directly or indirectly, from official statistical systems of national governments.

USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, Global Agricultural Trade System provides global trade statistics on agricultural, fish, forest, and textile products.


Last updated: Thursday, October 22, 2015

For more information contact: Peyton Ferrier