July 5, 2019

Mexican tomato imports still up after duties were imposed

Import weights in Nogales have increased year-over-year for two months in a row, though opponents warn higher prices are yet to come.

360 Tomatoes at the Border Border patrol searches through tomatoes at port of entry.
AZPM Staff

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HERMOSILLO, Mex. — Despite a significant tariff in place, Mexican tomato imports have not yet declined as some feared.

For now two months in a row, Mexican tomato import weights have increased year-over-year through Nogales since a nearly 18% tariff was imposed in early May. June import weights were up more than 40% over June 2018 in Nogales, and more modestly border-wide, according to recent U.S. Department of Agriculture data. Sale prices in Nogales also appear to have dropped below pre-tariff levels.

But the Nogales-based Fresh Produce Association of the America’s Lance Jungmeyer said he’s not surprised.

“There’s just never as much demand for the end of a crop cycle at a particular shipping point,” he said.

Much of the Nogales produce import business dies off in the summer months. The higher prices and lower supplies the industry has warned the duties could bring might not be seen until the coming season, according to Jungmeyer.

Fronteras Desk
This story is from the Fronteras Desk, a collaboration of Southwestern public radio stations, including NPR 89.1. Read more from the Fronteras Desk.
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