This week, in reaction to the Trump Administration imposing levies on metal imports, Mexico applied tariffs to 71 products from the United States (US). For example, they put a 20 percent tax on imported fresh apples, which were normally traded tax free under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The state of Washington will suffer disproportionately from this new impediment to trade. Last year, Washington state producers exported $126 million of fresh apples to Mexico, which was the US’ top apple customer since 2004. Washington orchards grew 3 million tonnes of the 4.7 million tonnes of US apples produced in 2017.
The tariff comes as US apple exports to Mexico are falling off their annual peak. Washington apple harvest begins in October, so Mexico typically imports the most US apples in the first half of the calendar year. Still, exports to Mexico during the offseason have grown steadily over the last ten years. Between 2007 and 2017, US apple exports to Mexico in the month of September increased from 7,526 tonnes to 11,205 tonnes. While the US has exported increasing volumes to Asian countries like India and Taiwan, most US apples still go to Canada and Mexico. Those two countries imported 426,318 tonnes in 2017—47 percent of the US’ total apple exports that year. Gro Intelligence subscribers can easily monitor US trade data to track whether apple exports to Canada and Mexico slow as the NAFTA renegotiation heats up.