Tomato and other fresh produce imports contribute to the U.S. economy in direct and indirect ways, including supporting a delivery value chain in the grocery and food service industries that creates thousands of jobs. According to a November 2018 study from the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, Mexican fresh tomato imports to the United States generated an estimated $4.8 billion in total economic activity in the U.S. economy in 2016 (Duval, Bickel, & Frisvold 2018).
As Figure 1 shows, the vast majority of Mexican tomato imports flow through ports of entry on the U.S.- Mexico border with the Laredo, TX district facilitating more than $1.1 billion in tomato imports, over half of total U.S. imports of Mexican tomatoes. Tomatoes remain the largest single six-digit category of imports from Mexico to Arizona, flowing almost exclusively through Nogales, Arizona’s major border port of entry. In fact, Arizona imported $576.8 million in tomatoes through Nogales in 2018, which was 99.99% of all tomatoes coming into the state and almost 30% of all tomatoes coming into the U.S. from Mexico.