Mexico trade war's 'disruption in the marketplace' felt by apple growers in B.C.
Canada is second biggest importer of U.S. apples after Mexico
An escalating trade fight between the United States and Mexico may affect B.C. apple growers in the Okanagan, experts say.
Mexico is the biggest customer of Washington state apples, buying up to $250 million's worth each year.
But Mexico now wants to slap a 20 per cent tariff on U.S. farm goods including apples in response to the Trump administration's tariffs on steel and aluminum.
"It's a disruption in the marketplace and it's hard to see how that will shake out," said Glen Lucas, the general manager of the B.C. Fruit Growers Association.
The concern, he said, is that Washington growers may look to send more of their product into Canada if they are unable to sell to Mexico.
"We will be monitoring to make sure that apples are not dumped," Lucas told Chris Walker, the host of CBC's Daybreak South.
"Every shipment is monitored and every week we would be able to see what is happening in the marketplace."
Reaction to market pressure
Canada is already one of the biggest importers of U.S. apples after Mexico.
During a previous trade war involving the U.S. apple growers in 2010-11, British Columbia did export apples to Mexico but Lucas says he doesn't see it as a business opportunity to export more fruit — it's more of a stop-gap measure.
"It's not like we're developing a new market, it's just a reaction to some market pressure," he said.
For Mark Powers, the president of the Northwest Horticultural Council, it's the uncertainty of the tariff war that is worrying.
"It's the cumulative impact that we're very concerned about," he said.
"A short-term increase in price or reduction in return to the grower is something that can be weathered, but it takes its toll over time."
With files from Daybreak South.