Mexican tariffs lifted on WA produce - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Mexican tariffs lifted on WA produce

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Olympia, Wash. -- U.S. Department of Transportation approved the first cross-border permit for a Mexican trucking company. The move marks the final step in an agreement struck in March and signed in July between the two countries for Mexico to fully lift tariffs on 99 U.S. goods, including apples, grapes, pears, cherries, and potatoes.

 Mexico has five days to eliminate all tariffs.   The Mexican tariffs took a toll on Washington state's agriculture industry. Since the tariffs have been in place, state exports have dropped by at least $82 million, according to the Washington Department of Commerce. Washington farmers have seen a $70 million decline in potato exports, a $39 million drop in pear exports and $2 million declines in both cherry and apricot exports.

 "Today, Washington farmers can breathe a sigh of relief," Maria Cantwell said. "After years of work, these retaliatory tariffs have finally been lifted. Today marks the final step in a long process."

Congressman Doc Hastings said, "Mexico is one of our biggest export markets, and now we can compete on a level playing field. To me that is the most significant part of reducing the tariffs."

The 20% tariffs were put on Washington produce in retaliation for the government's cancellation of a pilot program which allowed Mexican trucks into the country.  It's been in effect for 31 months.