Trump’s Tariff Threat Adds to Mexican Produce Duty Woes

Published: Friday, May 31, 2019 - 2:58pm
Murphy Woodhouse/KJZZ
Workers get organic tomatoes ready for export to the United States.

Many business leaders reacted negatively to President Donald Trump’s threatened tariff on all imports from Mexico. But in Nogales, where sizable duties were recently imposed on tomatoes, there was even more worry.

Mexican tomato importers had to start paying a nearly 18% duty just a few weeks ago. For the massive Nogales import industry, tomatoes are one of the most important of the several billion-dollars worth of fruits and vegetables that cross there yearly.

“This is a ridiculous food tax is what it amounts to,” said Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Nogales-based Fresh Produce Association of the Americas.

Trump said that the tariffs could increase monthly until reaching 25% by October. For tomatoes, that would mean total duties of over 42% if talks for an unrelated import deal aren’t successful.

Nearly $600 million worth of tomatoes crossed through Nogales last year, and well over $13 billion of Mexican fruits and vegetables were imported into the U.S.

You can read the president's full statement here.

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