When the Mexican government imposed punitive tariffs last year on $2.4 billion in American products the average Mexican citizen may not have noticed. But no more. Try finding a U.S.-grown Christmas tree in Mexico City this week. They are scarce since Mexico’s usual suppliers of holiday evergreens, growers in the states of California and Oregon, have been priced out of the market by a 20 percent tariff.
Oregon potato growers and Washington pear exporters are also singing the Christmas blues. No partridges in American-grown pear trees for Mexico this year. The Mexican government levied those tariffs in a completely transparent manner because of U.S. policy to keep a small number of well-inspected Mexican trucks off the U.S. roads and void a deal previously struck under the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Heritage Senior Policy Analyst Ray Walser confirmed the shortage last week during a visit to Mexico’s capital. Mexican buyers are having to settle for homegrown trees. Last year the situation was so bad that Oregon Christmas tree growers ended up burning their unsold trees.
This year, as the grinches in the Obama Administration (and their Teamster Union supporters) continued to drag their feet on settling the dispute, the trees were not even cut. Maybe the Mexicans can send Cindy Loo Hoo to the White House to plead their case!
A better solution, however, would be for the Obama Administration to make a New Year’s resolution to follow Heritage’s longstanding recommendation, resolve the dispute by restoring funding to the “Mexican Truck Pilot Program,” and then expand it and make it permanent.