US producers fear Mexico is closing its doors

US fruit producers have already suffered from the costs of closing the Mexican market in 2009, which is why they now fear this could happen again in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

This was stated by the Horticultural Council of the Northwest of the United States during the consultation period regarding the renegotiation of the Treaty opened by the US Department of Commerce.

The Council, one of the strongest groups of agricultural producers, which exports 90 percent of the apple and pear from that country, recalled what happened in 2009 when Mexico applied tariffs on a temporary basis.

In that year, as a measure of compensation for the United States' non-compliance with the free transit of trucks, Mexico applied tariffs on various products, including apples, pears and cherries, for a period of seven to eight months.

The tariff was 20 percent and generated a large loss, the agency said in its analysis.

Pear producers lost $21 million dollars, apple producers 44 million, and cherry producers 3.5 million.

"The Council's priorities are for the US to maintain its current access to Mexico and Canada. We are alert because of some reports stating that Mexican producers are interested in imposing seasonal tariffs," they said.

With the arrival of the NAFTA, Mexico eliminated the 20 percent tariff on pear, apple, and cherry imports from the US since 1994, and since then the country has become one of the main markets for these fruits.

The agency also called for the elimination of certain barriers that could hinder trade in other fruits with Mexico, particularly, the revisions subject to phytosanitary programs.

They asked the US Department of Commerce to support them to obtain access to the Mexican market for fresh peaches and nectarines without the presence of Mexican inspectors in their territory.

Currently, Mexico applies a phytosanitary protocol to the producers of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington due to the oriental fruit fly.

According to the Council, so far, this fly has not been found in exports to other nations that also apply the protocol, which is why they ask for a regulatory change with the Mexican Government.

Fruit shipments to Mexico and Canada support 4,100 jobs and just the apple market in the two nations is worth $345 million, they concluded.

Source: Agencia Reforma

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