The Mexican tomato industry is seeing the impact of the 17.5% tariff applied by the U.S. after the agreement that prevented an anti-dumping investigation was not renewed.
The U.S. government measure came into effect a month ago and since then, exports of Mexican tomatoes to its northern neighbor have dropped, said the Mexican Association of Protected Horticulture (AMHPAC).
Óscar Woltman, president of the AMHPAC explained that some reports indicate that in Sonora exports fell by 50%, while in Baja California there would be a decrease of 10-15%.
He added that now a guarantee was required from exporters, which if it does not cover the entire exported volume, obliges them to send a smaller quantity, leading some companies to export half of what they would normally ship.
"We have been in negotiations with the U.S. and the Department of Commerce since this issue started a year and a half ago," he noted.
"Our delegation was in Washington, seeing the development of the 5% negotiations [announced by President Trump to all Mexican imports]. There was a lot of approach to politics, because it is important that the Mexican government help us move the government of U.S. to negotiate," Woltman said.
On the other hand, the president of AMHPAC highlighted the importance of the North American country for the Mexican tomato industry.
"We export US$3,200 million a year and about 80% of that goes to the U.S.," said Woltman.
Along these lines, the representative of AMHPAC added that finding other markets that can absorb this volume is complex, as is the possibility that the U.S. will be able to absorb this volume.
"There aren’t many alternatives to be honest; we do not have the possibility of changing. I mean, we can send some volume to other countries, but due to the fact that it is a perishable product, it does not make it much easier to export to other destinations and yes, we can send something, but not much. "
"The U.S. is a natural market for Mexico, the production of Mexican vegetables is very beneficial for the climate and with the investment that has been made in the last 25 years is efficient, high quality and sustainable," Woltman said.
The president of AMHPAC argued that there is a mutual dependence between both countries and that with the announcement of a tariff of 5% to all imports from Mexico, the industry will have no other option than to increase the price by 5%, affecting the final consumers.