Mexico-U.S. border agreement to bolster horticultural trade
The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) has applauded the Mexican Government’s decision to remove 100% of its retaliatory tariffs.
The agreement puts an end to a dispute that began in 2009, when Mexico responded to trucking restrictions by placing tariffs on U.S. products.
Grapes and cherries are just some of the products that are now be able to enter Mexico tariff-free from the U.S., while Mexican trucks will be able to cross into the U.S. provided they meet requirements.
PMA vice president of government relations and public affairs Kathy Means, says there will still be challenges for U.S. horticultural producers to re-enter the Mexican market, but the agreement is positive for the industry.
"It certainly took longer than we would have liked. It took a lot of negotiation and discussion to arrive at this positive solution," Means told www.freshfruitportal.com.
"U.S. shippers of the affected products will be re-entering markets that have found other suppliers during the dispute. Regaining those markets may take some time depending on whether the Mexican buyers choose to stay with the new suppliers or return to U.S. suppliers or even a little bit of both."
From the Mexican perspective, under the previous situation trucks were not allowed across the border and produce had to be taken down and put on U.S. vehicles.
While this logistical issue led to added costs and time delays for Mexican produce, Means doesn’t think the effects of the new trucking changes will be significant from a cost point of view.
"The impact will be minimal. The only thing they are changing is that you’re not loading off and putting the products onto another truck, but there could be some minimal savings," she says.
"It affects a very small amount of the cost, especially when you consider they often have to stop trucks anyway for quality control."
Means emphasizes the PMA has always supported efforts to remove the trade barriers. Her comments are echoed by the association’s CEO Bryan Silbermann.
"PMA works collaboratively with government and industry partners on issues that demand our attention, this certainly being one of profound importance. Leadership among both governments should be applauded for this long overdue compromise," he says.
"As PMA members represent a global supply chain, tariffs of a retaliatory nature, no matter what the intention, only damage trade and ultimately hurt job growth in challenging economic times."
Other U.S. horticultural items that were previously affected by Mexican tariffs are onions, lettuce, sweet corn, almonds, pistachios, dates, oranges, grapefruit, apples, pears, apricots, strawberries, potatoes, peas, peanuts.