The cost of avocadoes, tomatoes, berries, meat and countless other foods—both imported from Mexico and produced in California—could go up if new tariffs on Mexican products are imposed, reported Gosia Wozniacka in Civil Eats.
Last week, President Donald Trump tweeted that the U.S. “will impose a 5 percent tariff on all goods coming into our country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our country, stop.”
“I assume Mexico will retaliate,” said Dan Sumner, director of the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources’ Agricultural Issues Center. “Let’s all hope this is a bluff and as summer progresses, we’ll be OK.”
The United States is Mexico’s largest ag trading partner. In 2019, $25.9 billion worth of ag goods came over the border from Mexico to the U.S. That amounts to 78 percent of Mexican agricultural exports of products like avocadoes, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, onions, bananas, mangoes, limes and berries, to name a few.
Americans have become accustomed to purchasing a wide range of foods year-round. Retailers look to Mexico, with its extended growing season, to supply fruits and vegetables in fall and winter when they aren’t available in the U.S. The timing of the tariff threat makes it somewhat less damaging since we’re entering the season when more produce is grown in California and other states, the article said.
Sumner said the real victims of the tariffs could be farmworkers.
“The [large] farmers have built this [cost] in. They have lost millions on other things before; it’s part of doing business. But for farmworkers, if a family misses a couple of weeks of work and pay, that could be significant,” Sumner said. — Jeannette Warnert, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources communications specialist