The Mexican government has lifted tariffs of 20% that it had imposed on U.S. apples nearly a year ago, after the U.S. Administration announced on Friday that it would eliminate duties on Mexican and Canadian steel and aluminum imports.
Mexico's Office for Economic Affairs announced the move on Monday morning, in what will be a major boost to the U.S. apple industry whose sales to the Latin American country have been heavily affected over the 2018-19 season.
Jim Bair, president and CEO of the U.S. Apple Association, commended the removal of Section 232 tariffs on Mexico and Canada and praised the "successful negotiation of provisions going forward to protect agriculture from being drawn into future trade disputes involving metals".
“We welcome the return of duty-free access to Mexico, our largest export market, and continued duty-free access to Canada, our number two market. The two countries combined represent a half-billion-dollar market for U.S. apple growers," he said.
"Removal of the Section 232 tariffs and ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) have been our top priorities. Our efforts are now focused on securing congressional support and ratification of the USMCA, which will provide increased stability and predictability going forward."
In announcing the U.S.'s lifting of tariffs on Mexico and Canada on Friday, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said it was a "big win" for U.S. agriculture and the economy as a whole.
"Canada and Mexico are two of our top three trading partners, and it is my expectation that they will immediately pull back their retaliatory tariffs against our agricultural products. Congress should move swiftly to ratify the USMCA [United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement] so American farmers can begin to benefit from the agreement," he said.
In January, the Washington Apples Commission - which represents growers in the country's top production state - said that apple sales to Mexico so far during the season were down by 23%.