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Abstract

Since the late 1980s, multilateral and bilateral trade agreements have reduced tariff rates and worked to restrain the arbitrary use of nontariff measures, including sanitary and phytosanitary regulations. U.S. imports of fruits and vegetables have risen steadily during this period as more pathways (specific country-commodity combinations) for legal importation to the United States have gained approval, regulations for gaining import access have been streamlined, and treatment options for phytosanitary issues have been expanded. This report compares 2011 tariff rates with phytosanitary treatments for 29 fruits and vegetables. In general, both tariffs and nontariff phytosanitary measures are relatively small across high-volume import pathways, and there is little evidence to suggest that phytosanitary regulations have a large effect on trade.

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