NAFTA Delay Brings Anxiety For Arizona Importers

Published: Thursday, May 17, 2018 - 12:37pm
Updated: Thursday, May 17, 2018 - 3:38pm

Business leaders across Arizona are anxiously prepearing for the likelihood that negotiations over trade between the United States, Mexico and Canada will drag on through the rest of the year.

Negotiators from the three countries will likely not meet an informal deadline set by Congress to agree on the major points of an agreement over a revamped North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), according to Mexican Economy Secretary Idelfonoso Guajardo in an interview with broadcaster Televisa.

For importers of produce in Nogales, Arizona, that means they don't know whether a proposal to favor tomatoes, bell peppers and cucumbers from Florida — instead of Mexico —  will go through.

The provision has caught their attention beacuse it benefits Florida producers but would be a set-back for Arizona importers and would likely increase the price of produce for consumers, according to Guillermo Valencia, chairman of the Greater Nogales-Santa Cruz County Port Authority.

"How's it going to be handled? What are going to be the requirements? What are the costs going to be?" Valencia asked during an interview. "When you invest or have large investments in that type of commodity, uncertainty is not a good thing."

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