Image credits: Gloria Cabada-Leman
News Article

US Tariffs Unlikely, Says GCMA

By Jan Hogewoning | Fri, 08/28/2020 - 14:11

This week, Georgia lawmakers and producers of blueberries and pecans and other specialty crops were given the opportunity to address US Trade Representative officials about alleged unfair competition from Mexican producers. Some of the issues they point out are “unfair subsidies, unfair trade-distorting practices, national security and unfair labor issues,” Mexico Business News wrote earlier this week. Georgia producers joined their counterparts from Florida who had their own virtual conference with USTR on Aug. 13. As we pointed out earlier this week, there are very vocal voices in the US against tariff action, such as the Arizona-based Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, warning of retaliatory mirrored tariffs from Mexico against US producers and higher prices for US consumers. This group accused the Florida and Georgia lawmakers and producers of offering ‘no concrete evidence’ of any of the issues above.

Mexico Business News asked Fernando Cruz, Senior Managing Partner at Coolteva Foods Mexico and associate consultant for GCMA, to comment on the possibility of potential tariff action from the US on specific crops. “On the issue of seasonality, we see [tariffs] as unlikely, since the measures that Mexico can implement may also have an unfavorable impact on US farmers. Mexico imports 17 million tons of corn coming from the US. If Mexico applies a tariff or restriction, the market would move to buy corn from Brazil or Argentina, with a multimillion-dollar loss for the corn growers of the cornbelt in the US, which is also where we find much of Trump's electoral base,” said Cruz. “The commercial conflict is not beneficial for either party and those who are harmed the most are the consumers.”

If more tariffs are unlikely to actually happen, why would Florida and Georgia lawmakers still be pushing for them? Fernando believes there is a political element behind this. "We believe their base pressures their candidate and the candidate needs to voice their support to position themselves.", he states.

Photo by:   Gloria Cabada-Leman
Jan Hogewoning Jan Hogewoning Journalist and Industry Analyst