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Produce industry worries as Trump threatens Mexico tariffs

SAHUARITA, Ariz. – President Donald Trump threatened to put tariffs on Mexican imports if our southern neighbors don’t step up and what the president calls remedy the illegal immigration problem.

Lance Jungmeyer is the president of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas.

“Could we see the world economy crippled, I think yes,” Jungmeyer said Friday afternoon. “There’s a lot of worried people here and it’s not just in produce, it’s everywhere.”

The Trump administration threatens five percent tariffs on all Mexican imports starting June 10. and jumping up five percent every month after, capping at 25 percent by October.

“Mexico’s our fruit and vegetable basket and we’re essentially saying let’s pay 25 percent more for that now, I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Jungmeyer said. “This is a tax on 100 percent of Americans. Every American is going to have to pay in order to do this.”

The threat of tariffs worries Nogales resident Armando Tapia.

“We will feel it, we’re going to feel it real hard,” Tapia said. “We do have a great relationship with Nogales, Mexico and with this tariff, it’s just going to add more to the economy lowering because since they put this concertina wire behind me, we’ve seen drastic changes in the economy, people coming and shopping.”

Gov. Doug Ducey tweeted:

 

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and Sen. Martha McSally both oppose putting tariffs on Mexican imports.

Sinema said in a statement: “I have consistently opposed tariffs and introduced legislation to prevent harmful trade wars. Raising taxes on Arizonans won’t solve the problems we face at the border. Congress and the Administration need to work together to secure our border and protect commerce that contributes billions to our economy.”

McSally said in a statement: “Mexico is Arizona’s number one trading partner, accounting for over $16 billion in 2018 alone. While I support the President’s intention of stopping unchecked illegal immigration, I do not support these types of tariffs, which will harm our economy and be passed onto Arizona small businesses and families. There is an undeniable crisis at our Southern border that has led to communities, NGOs, and DHS begging for additional resources. Mexico must do its part, step up, and enforce their laws on their Southern border. Congress must also do their job to pass my legislation which closes loopholes that are incentivizing the massive uptick in illegal crossing and end this cycle of madness.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans consume more than $12 billion a year in fruits and vegetables coming from Mexico.

 

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Eric Fink

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