Mexico import tax threatens Oregon economy, officials warn

Avocados imported from Mexico Avocados imported from Mexico

Mexico is the No. 11 market for Oregon exported goods — and the No. 6 market for Oregon imported goods.


President Trump triggered a new fight over trade yesterday as the White House proposed a 20% tax on imports from Mexico to pay for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

The tax would have a negative impact on Oregon trade and businesses, says Nathan Buehler, a spokesperson for Business Oregon, the state's economic development agency.

Mexican imports from Oregon were valued at $407 million in 2015, according to the World Institute for Strategic Economic Research, an international trade database. The imports consist primarily of computer and electronic products, industrial machinery, food and wood products.

That same year, Oregon imported $713 million in goods from Mexico — mostly semi-trucks and electrical machinery.

"Mexico is a significant trade partner," Buehler says. "It's also a diverse set of Oregon products that goes to Mexico, not just one particular industry."

Mexico is the No. 11 market for Oregon exported goods and the No. 6 country for goods imported into the state.

The levy could lead to a bigger trade war as Mexico may retaliate by imposing a comparable tarriff on U.S. imports. "That would impact the small businesses we’ve been working with to grow revenues back in Oregon by selling goods in Mexico," Buehler says.
 
He cites Eugene-based Deployed Logix as an example. The company exports rescue/disaster preparedness products to Mexico.
 
Other consumer goods make it into Oregon from Mexico, but don’t show up in Oregon data because they first enter through another state. 
 
"Avocados are a good example," Buehler says. "The data shows $0 in avocados in 2013 and 2014, and only $8,725 worth of avocados in 2015.  But California and Texas import $1.3 billion worth of avocado imports from Mexico. Some of those avocados then make their way to Oregon."
 
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Asked to comment on Trump's proposals, Francisco Pena, Oregon's Mexican Consul General, sent the following email to Oregon Business:

"Regarding the construction of the wall, the President of Mexico stated that our country does not believe in walls, considering far from uniting us, they divide us. He regrets and condemns the decision of continuing the construction of a wall."

In an August interview, Pena noted that an increasing number of Mexicans are returning to the U.S. "The reality is equilibrium. The rate of new people is zero," he said.  

 

Linda Baker

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2 comments

  • Donald
    Donald Sunday, 29 January 2017 10:28 Comment Link

    It seems to me that Trump has no regard for law or for the Constitution. He is doing his best to stifle the press, public disclosure, and free speech. He seems to have no integrity or character and his morals are disgusting. How does he respect the law when his life history is one of sexual assault on women. He publicly invites Russia to hack into the computer systems of those he perceives to be his adversaries which is unlawful and yet people like Mr. Golff make such statements about Oregon ignoring the law which in fact is not the case. But then again we now have labeled lies and deceit and political rhetoric as "alternative facts".

  • Charles Golff
    Charles Golff Saturday, 28 January 2017 11:31 Comment Link

    Amazing that a President fulfills his campaign promises and does it under existing laws. Perhaps Oregon should try to base its industry on lawful principles instead of ignoring laws when convenient.

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