A Mexican border tax would hit avocados, chilli peppers, beer

A employee works at an avocados packaging plant in the municipality of Uruapan, Michoacan State, Mexico.
A employee works at an avocados packaging plant in the municipality of Uruapan, Michoacan State, Mexico.PHOTO: AFP

(Bloomberg) - The 20 per cent tax on imports floated by the Trump administration would affect a wide range of agricultural goods.

Mexico exported US$21 billion (S$30 billion) of food and drink north of the border in 2015, according to data from the United States Department of Agriculture.

These include fresh vegetables and fruit, snack foods as well as alcoholic beverages such as wine and beer.

FRESH VEGETABLES

Imports of tomatoes, onions, chilli peppers and other vegetables totalled US$4.84 billion. That's more than four times what was purchased from Canada, the next biggest importer.

FRESH FRUIT

This accounts for US$4.28 billion of shipments, including raspberries, strawberries and avocados. Mexico sells more than twice as much fresh fruit to the US as the No. 2 importer, Chile.

WINE AND BEER

Hold that Corona? Mexico led this category, importing US$2.7 billion, almost US$1 billion ahead of its biggest competitor, Italy.

SNACK FOODS

With US$1.72 billion of imports, Mexico is No. 2 here, although Canada sells roughly twice as much into the US.

Despite running an overall trade deficit with Mexico, US food and drink exports to its southern neighbor don't lag far behind, at US$17.7 billion for 2015.

The US typically carries a trade surplus with its southern partner in years when grain and oilseed prices are high, as they were for most of the previous decade. Mexico was the biggest buyer of US corn, soybean meal, rice and dairy products in 2015.

2015 was the first year the US had an agricultural-trade deficit with Mexico since 1995.