(Sept. 23) The U.S. will continue to be the biggest supplier of apples to Mexico, despite a continuing 46% anti-dumping duty on U.S. red and golden delicious apples, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

The FAS report said Mexico’s apple production is expected to reach 490,000 metric tons, slightly above last season’s output.

Most of the country’s domestic production will be sold from September through March; U.S. supplies of apples typically dominate after April, the report said.

Mexico’s annual apple consumption is about 556,000 metric tons. Based on that, the FAS predicts Mexico’s apple import demand for 2003-04 at 156,000 metric tons, up from 148,000 metric tons last season.

Although the U.S. remains the dominant supplier, the FAS noted that Canada and Chile increased their market share in Mexico in 2002-03. Whereas the U.S. market share of imported apples in Mexico was 81% in 2001-02, the share of market dipped to 68% in 2002-03. Chile’s market share increased from 16% in 2001-02 to 24% in 2002-03.

Chilean marketing efforts have included in-store demonstrations and a focus on price rather than quality. Argentina and South Africa also are in the Mexican market, and France and China continue to show interest in Mexico, the FAS said.