IRVINE, Calif. (July 6, 2011)—Today’s signing of an agreement between the United States and the Government of Mexico ends a nearly two-year-long dispute over cross-border trucking and will have a positive impact on the fresh produce industry. Today’s action marks the first phase of the deal and removes 50 percent of the tariffs on U.S. produce and other products shipped to Mexico.
“Today’s agreement between the United States and Mexico means the fresh produce industry will no longer be caught in the middle of a dispute that created an economic barrier to trade for our farmers,” said Tom Nassif, president and CEO of Western Growers. “We look forward to its full implementation later this summer.”
The signing of today's agreement will result in the reduction in tariffs affecting fresh produce. These tariffs range from 10 percent to 45 percent on certain fruits, vegetables and nuts shipped to Mexico. For example, shippers paying a 40 percent tariff would now pay a 20 percent tariff, according to the deal. The remaining tariffs will be lifted when the first Mexican carrier is authorized under the new Cross-Border Trucking Program.
Western Growers has strongly advocated the resolution of this dispute, petitioning Congress and federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative since March 2009, to fully implement U.S. obligations under the North American Free Trade Agreement. The fresh produce industry—particularly producers of pears, grapes, onions, lettuce, almonds, strawberries, cherries, apricots and dates—have seen sales to Mexico drop considerably due to the tariffs levied by Mexico on these and other U.S. exports. These tariffs were in retaliation to the U.S. government’s termination of the pilot trucking program. An estimated $900 million in U.S. agriculture products have been impacted by the tariffs.
About Western Growers:
Western Growers (www.wga.com) is an agricultural trade association whose members from Arizona and California grow, pack and ship 90 percent of the fresh fruits, nuts and vegetables grown in California and 75 percent of those commodities in Arizona. This totals about half of the nation’s fresh produce. Western Growers is headquartered in Irvine, Calif.