Produce box from Mexico

Matt Bigler/KCBS Radio

Produce Prices Likely To Rise in Tariff Scenario

Mexico a Major Supplier of Tomatoes and More

KCBS Radio Morning News
May 31, 2019 - 7:16 am

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS Radio) -- Produce wholesalers predicted higher prices for consumers after President Trump said he would impose a 5 percent tariff on all imported goods from Mexico.

The tariff announcement came via Mr. Trump's Twitter account. 

Mr. Trump later said the tariffs would be raised to 10 percent on July 1 “if the crisis persists,” and then go up by  another 5 percent each month for three months to a maximum of 25 percent.

The tariffs could hit Californians in the pocketbook. "We import a lot of agricultural products from Mexico, so I think the impact would be relatively quick if, in fact, they are imposed," said Brian Peck, Director of the Center for Transnational Law and Business at USC Gould School of Law.

At the San Francisco Produce Market, KCBS Radio reporter Matt Bigler found "Produce of Mexico" labels on all sorts of produce. Tomatoes, avocados and cucumbers are  among the crops shipped in profusion from Mexico to the Bay Area.

Wholesalers said tariffs would raise consumer prices.  "I think it's sort of a joke because it all just gets passed down to the consumer. That's, in the end, who pays for it," said Bob Pizza, President of What a Tomato Produce Company.

On a hopeful note, wholesalers said a number of crops imported from Mexico are also grown in California and as the summer wears on, more California-grown produce will find its way into the supply chain.