Proposed Border Tax Could Hamper U.S. Ag Exports

Associated Press writer Katarina Velazquez reported late last week that, “Weld County, Colorado, is more than 700 miles from the closest Mexican border, but a proposed import tariff on the United States’ southern neighbor leaves local agriculture commodities in a state of uncertainty.

“At the end of January, President Donald Trump suggested a 20 percent tariff on all imports from Mexico to pay for his long-promised wall between the bordering countries.

The move could spark a trade war that would harm Weld producers if Mexico executed a retaliatory tax or implemented trade barriers. Local producers could lose the income they get from exporting goods to Mexico. The tax also could raise prices on products for consumers in both countries or limit the products they could purchase.”

The AP article noted that, “Tom Lipetzky, trade spokesman for the Colorado Department of Agriculture, said if the tariff was implemented, the U.S. could expect Mexico to retaliate by imposing similar tariffs on U.S. products being exported to Mexico.

“Mexico is the second-highest export market for Colorado producers, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, and losing that income would gouge producers already hurting from low commodities prices in the states.”

Ms. Velazquez pointed out that, “A Mexican senator, Armando Rios Piter, said in mid-February he wants to introduce a bill that would halt the country from buying U.S. corn, and shift those purchases to Brazil and Argentina. [Mark Sponsler, CEO of Colorado Corn] said that isn’t something he views as an imminent threat, but it’s something to address and keep in mind since it could hurt all U.S. corn farmers financially.

“‘Trade with Mexico is important in agriculture, and we, as in agricultural producers, benefit from trade with the country, and these are things that make us really look at that,’ he said. ‘The U.S. can’t lose any trading partner without it affecting our agriculture in Colorado.'”

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