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Assessment of the impact of import detentions on the competitiveness of Guatemalan snow peas in U.S. markets

Purdue University
Publication Date
  • Economics
  • Agricultural


Guatemalan snow pea exports have experienced more import detentions at US ports-of-entry than any other supplier of snow peas to the US market. Guatemalan snow pea exports to the United States were placed on automatic detention in March of 1992 and that import alert remains in effect today. The persistence of these detentions may have been a factor in the decline of Guatemala's competitive position as a supplier of fresh vegetables to the US market. The purpose of this study was to quantify the impact of the prolonged import alert and automatic detention status on Guatemala's competitiveness in the US snow pea market. ^ The US snow pea market is supplied by three dominant regions; California—domestically, and Guatemala and Mexico—internationally. The international supply is counter seasonal to the domestic supply, although both California and Guatemala ship snow peas year round. This research used an econometric model, a modified Armington demand model, to quantify the impacts of Guatemalan import detentions on Guatemala's competitiveness with the other two major snow pea supplying regions. The study also used US market participant interviews to evaluate the impact of automatic detention on buyer perceptions in the US market. ^ The findings from this research indicate that being on automatic detention has had a negative impact on Guatemala in US snow pea market. Import detentions increase the costs of importing Guatemalan snow peas, cause delays that greatly reduce the marketability of those snow peas, and increase market volatility by detaining shipments at US ports of entry for prolonged periods. It was also found that some US importers stopped importing Guatemalan snow peas and now buy them from within the US market due to the increased difficulty associated with the import detention process. Findings from this research also indicate that at times Guatemala has an excess supply of snow peas in the US market. ^ These findings indicate that the Guatemalan snow pea program would benefit from the development and implementation of USDA Good Agricultural Practices to address FDA food safety concerns. In addition, Guatemalan producers and exporters would benefit from the development of viable alternative exports crops for snow peas producers. ^

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