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California Farmers Cheer Trucking Deal

Aired 10/21/11 on KPBS News.

The first Mexican long haul truck entered the US in Texas today and California farmers are cheering.

— The settlement allowing Mexican trucks to drive to any US city means retaliatory Mexican tariffs on agricultural goods are going away. The California Farm Bureau says that’s a boost to the state’s famers. Growers have been losing money because the taxes make California goods too expensive south of the Border.

California Farm
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Above: California Farm

“The heftiest tariff that was first introduced in the first year was any of our grapes going into Mexico were charged a 45 percent tariff and then the rest of the tariffs ranged from 10-to-20 percent,” said Josh Rolph of the California Farm Bureau.

Tariffs have been in place since 2009. The bureau estimates the fees cost California farmers 240 million dollars a year in lost sales. Without the extra taxes, California goods are more competitive in Mexico.

“There were a lot of fruits and vegetables on the list. Onions, head lettuce, dates, apricots, strawberries, cherries, others included almonds,” said Rolph.

Some of the tariffs were lifted Friday. More will end in the next few weeks.

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