Wednesday, June 2, 2010

End to Mexican tariffs can't come soon enough - Opinions | Tri-City Herald : Mid-Columbia news

End to Mexican tariffs can't come soon enough - Opinions Tri-City Herald : Mid-Columbia news

Drug trafficking and border security captured most of the headlines during Mexican President Felipe Calderon's recent visit to the United States, but the one issue that many in the Mid-Columbia had on their minds seemed to escape notice.

Mexican tariffs on U.S. products have had a devastating impact on Washington's agricultural industry, forcing the loss of revenue and jobs.

For our potato industry alone, the tariffs have meant a loss of $14 million in frozen product exports in the past year. Exports of pears, onions, cherries and other locally grown crops also have been severely curtailed. Eighty-seven products in all are subject to the tariffs.

The tariffs came about because the U.S. Congress ended a cross-border demonstration project allowing Mexican trucks onto U.S. highways. In retaliation, Mexico added a 20 percent tariff to frozen potatoes, for example, making exports cost-prohibitive.

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