Borderlands is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of United States-Mexico cross-border trucking and trade. This week: Washington’s apple exports to Mexico continue to rise; Pharr International Bridge is No. 3 land trade hub in Texas; Marc Kiven joins cross-border freight company Forager as president; and Tomato antidumping agreement to remain in place.
Washington’s apple exports to Mexico continue to rise
Mexico’s demand for apples from the United States continues to grow, with the state of Washington shipping up to 14 million boxes of apples south of the border this season.
“Mexico imports 12 to 14 million boxes of apples in a year. If we talk about 14 million boxes, we talk about 14,000 trucks that cross the border daily to Mexico,” Juan Carlos Moreira, a representative of Washington apples in Mexico, said to Expansion.
Mexico is the No. 1 export market for Washington apples, and exports have increased by 75% over the past 15 years, Moreira said. Washington exports apples valued at $200 million to $250 million to Mexico every year.
This year’s Washington apple crop is one of the largest in history at 138.2 million fresh-packed 40-pound boxes, according to the latest report from the Washington State Tree Fruit Association.
Among the main fresh-packed apple varieties that Washington exports to Mexico are Gala, Golden Delicious, Fuji, Granny Smith, Honey Crisp and Red Delicious.
The removal of a 20% tariff in May also could boost U.S. exports to Mexico this season. The Mexican tariff against U.S. apples was in place for almost a year. It was a retaliatory measure against U.S. tariffs on Mexican steel.
Mexican imports of U.S. apples fell nearly 16% during the period, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Pharr International Bridge is No. 3 land trade hub in Texas
City leaders in Pharr, Texas, recently celebrated being named the No. 3 land port in the state.
Pharr International Bridge in Texas’ trade totaled $3.3 billion for the month of October, according to the latest Census Bureau numbers available and analyzed by WorldCity.
“The growth in Pharr’s trade over the last quarter century, while impressive, really impressive, merely serves to set the table for tomorrow and the enormous potential the city has to capture an ever-larger volume of exports and imports in the coming years,” Ken Roberts, publisher of WorldCity, recently told the Rio Grande Guardian.
Pharr also ranked No. 29 in the country among more than 450 airports, seaports and border crossings.
Through October, Pharr International Bridge’s top trade partners were No. 1 Mexico ($29 billion), No. 2 China ($694 million), No. 3 South Korea ($141 million) and No. 4 Japan ($125 million).
The bridge’s top exports were petroleum gases ($2 billion), TVs and computer monitors ($603 million), motor vehicle parts ($577 million), fuels ($357 million) and computer chips ($356 million), according to WorldCity.
Its top imports into the U.S. were TVs and computer monitors ($2.3 billion); avocados, dates, figs and pineapples ($1 billion); motor vehicle parts ($987 million); and electrical boards and panels ($985 million).
Roberts recently was in Pharr to celebrate the bridge’s success with local officials and noted that Pharr is behind only Laredo and El Paso in Texas in terms of land trade volumes.
Fred Brouwen, director of operations for the Pharr International Bridge, said the volume of traffic has increased tremendously since opening in 1994.
“In 1994 we had 80 to 100 trucks a day coming in from Mexico, with roughly the same amount going back. Now we have 2,500 to 3,000 trucks a day coming in, with 2,500 to 2,800 going back. Back then we collected $20,000 to $30,000 a month. Now it is $1 million a month. We have come a long way. We have accomplished big numbers,” Brouwen told the Rio Grande Guardian.
Marc Kiven joins cross-border freight company Forager as president
Forager, a Chicago-based cross-border freight brokerage, recently announced the appointment of Marc Kiven as president.
Kiven brings more than 25 years of global business leadership experience in starting and growing software as a service (SaaS) technology-based companies.
“I’m excited to introduce my substantial experience in technology to the industry expertise already present at Forager,” Kiven said in a release. “There’s a strong need in the cross-border logistics space for new and innovative solutions, and Forager is poised to meet that need in a big way.”
Kiven most recently founded Signal, an enterprise SaaS marketing technology company that developed identity resolution for major brands on four continents. Prior to Signal, Kiven helped grow companies in the $130 billion digital marketing industry, including Avenue A, Atlas, Right Media and Chicago-based Centro.
“Bringing Marc on as president marks a huge turning point for Forager,” said Matt Silver, CEO of Forager. “We’re focused on breaking from freight tradition by being a tech company first. Having innovative, tech-focused leadership like Marc is a crucial part of our plan to bring simplicity and transparency to cross-border freight.”
Forager, founded in January 2019, specializes in cross-border freight, working with shippers to move goods between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
Tomato antidumping agreement between Mexico and US to remain in place
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) voted 4-0 on Nov. 22, making an affirmative determination that dumped tomatoes from Mexico threatened to injure the American tomato industry.
As a result, the recently finalized agreement — negotiated by the U.S. Department of Commerce — suspending the antidumping duty (AD) investigation of fresh tomatoes from Mexico will remain in place, according to a release from the U.S. Commerce Department.
“This action cements the strong suspension agreement that U.S. Commerce recently negotiated that protects the U.S. tomato industry from the damaging effects of unfair trade and provides certainty for the market,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said.
On Sept.19, Commerce and Mexican tomato growers finalized the 2019 Suspension Agreement, which contains enforcement provisions aimed at eliminating the effects of unfairly priced Mexican tomatoes, preventing price suppression and undercutting, as well as eliminating substantially price dumping of Mexican tomatoes.
Under the old agreement, about 8% of tomatoes imported from Mexico were subject to inspection. Under the new agreement, the number could climb to 92% of trucks carrying tomatoes to be inspected at the border.
Rosario Beltran, president of the Sinaloa growers association, a consortium of Mexican tomato growers, issued the following statement: “The Mexican tomato growers are disappointed with the outcome of the U.S. International Trade Commission’s investigation into whether Mexican imports of tomatoes have injured the U.S. industry and have separately challenged the Commerce Department finding of dumping at the U.S. Court of International Trade. Our calculations based on the very computer programs used by the Commerce Department demonstrate that we are not dumping. We look forward to having the court review Commerce’s calculations.”