The Government of Mexico and the United States signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will begin the process of removing the estimated $2.4 billion annual duties levied against U.S. exports to Mexico. More specifically, the action will begin the process of removing the 20% duty currently being applied to raw and roasted pistachios exported to Mexico.
U.S. pistachio exports to Mexico in 2009 were approximately $20 million as compared to 2010 which were $17 million. By contrast, the effects of the dispute were more noticeable in the first quarter of 2011, down by 50% as compared to 2010.
Within ten days Mexico will publish in the Official Journal of the Federation a notice indicating that Mexico and the U.S. have formally agreed to initiate a pilot long-haul trucking program operated under the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This announcement will serve as the official notice to the general public and signify that all tariffs levied in retaliation starting in 2009 will be reduced by 50% for all products. The remaining tariffs will be eliminated when the first permit is issued under the pilot program allowing for Mexican trucks to cross the U.S. border.
"We are extremely pleased by these developments and USTR and FMSCA along with Mexico are to be commended for their work on the long-haul trucking dispute. Mexico is an important market for the American pistachio industry and our trade helps to provide jobs and a healthy diet for both U.S. and Mexico citizens," says Western Pistachio Association Chairman Jim Zion.
Since the elimination of previous pilot program and the implementation of the first retaliatory duty measures, the Western Pistachio Association (WPA) has worked with a coalition of businesses and industries to resolve the dispute, the Alliance to Keep U.S. Jobs. WPA, as such, has monitored and provided input during the U.S. -Mexican negotiations and would like to thank the U.S. Department of Commerce's U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the United States Trade Representative's office for their tireless efforts to bring about a solution to the dispute.
WPA is confident that FMSCA's monitoring, oversight, and enforcement measures will ensure safe and adequate standards like those currently imposed on domestic long-haul carriers. This, along with the reporting standards and
audit process, allow for sufficient analysis to make adjustments to the program as needed and will lead to a permanent program in the near future.
The Western Pistachio Association is a non-profit voluntary trade association representing more than 400 American pistachio growers.org