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Blog/Closing the border with Mexico would affect US consumers. Closing the border with Mexico would affect US consumers.

Closing the border with Mexico would affect US consumers.

abr 01, 2019

Nearly half of all the vegetables imported into the United States and 40% of the fruit comes from Mexico, according to the latest data from the US Department of Agriculture.

President Donald Trump’s threat to close the border between the United States and Mexico would affect American consumers... in his stomach.

From the avocados they spread on their toast to the limes and tequila they put on their daisies, the United States relies heavily on Mexican imports of fruit, vegetables and alcohol to meet consumer demand.

Steve Barnard, executive president of Mission Produce, the world’s largest distributor and producer of avocados, said Americans would run out of this food in three weeks if imports from Mexico stopped.

"A worse time could not be chosen in the year, because Mexico supplies nearly 100% of the avocados to the United States right now. California is just beginning and has a very small crop, but it’s not relevant right now and it won’t be for another month or so," Barnard said.

Trump said Friday that "there is a high probability" that he will close the border this week if Mexico does not stop the arrival of immigrants in the United States. A complete closure would disrupt millions of legal border crossings, in addition to the arrival of asylum seekers and billions of dollars in trade, of which $137 billion involves food imports.

"When a border is closed or barriers to trade are erected, an impact on consumers is anticipated," said Monica Ganley, director of Quarterra, a consulting firm specializing in agricultural affairs and trade with Latin America.

"We will certainly see higher prices. This is very real and very relevant for American consumers," he added. The effects of a closure would have effects in both directions.

Mexico is the largest importer of US products for refined fuels such as diesel and gasoline, some of which are transported by rail. It was not clear whether rail terminals would be affected by closures.

As changes in the palate have increased the demand for fresh products and a greater variety, the United States has increased its dependence on Mexico to meet this need. Imports have almost tripled since 1999, during which time Mexico has gone from providing less than one third of imported goods to the current 44 per cent.

In addition to avocados, most imports of tomatoes, cucumbers, blackberries and raspberries come from Mexico. Although there are other producers of these foods worldwide, opening these channels would take time, Ganley said.

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