Friday, August 20, 2010

How will new Mexican tariffs affect U.S. ag producers?

A statement was released yesterday by the Mexican government announcing 10 new tariff items to be added to its original 99-item list released March 2009. Mexico has placed tariffs on certain U.S. ag products because it feels the U.S. isn't living up to its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) obligations.

The original 2009 list contained produce including cherry and apricots. Since the tariff was instituted, the Northwest Horticultural Council (NHC) reports that cherry and apricot producers in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon have lost about $25 million in revenue. The new list includes apples, grapefruits, and oranges. The NHC commented that, "Adding apples would be unfortunate and economically damaging. The reduction in pricing goes directly back to the grower, and it comes out of the grower’s pocket.”

Census Data shows that over $1 billion worth of produce and nuts were shipped from the U.S. to Mexico in 2009, up 45% from 2005 when the U.S. shipped approximately $748 million worth of these products.

Meat and cheese are also included in this new tariff list. Fresh cheese will be facing a 25% tariff, pork cuts will be facing a 5% tariff, and cooked pork rinds will be facing a 20% tariff. From January to June 2010, Mexico's pork imports were up 32% (totaling $261 million) as compared to January to June 2009.

The article "Mexico adds pork to tariff list" describes the affect the tariffs will have on U.S. ag producers. "Mexico is one of the biggest foreign customers for U.S. agricultural products, particularly meat, fruits and vegetables. Last year, Mexico imported U.S. pork valued at $419.6 million, second only to the $1.46 billion shipped to Japan, according to government data."

As an ag entrepreneur, do you export any of your products to other countries? If you export to Mexico, have you been affected by the new tariffs? If you export to other countries, are you afraid that these other countries will start implementing tariffs like Mexico?

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