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Cablegate: Mexican Avocado Growers Determined to Keep

VZCZCXRO0880
PP RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHME #1933/01 1091539
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 191539Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6512
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MEXICO 001933

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/MEX AND EB/TPP
STATE PASS USTR FOR MELLE AND VETTER
USDA FOR FAS/ONA
USDOC FOR 4320/ITA/MAC/ONAFTA/WORD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR MX
SUBJECT: MEXICAN AVOCADO GROWERS DETERMINED TO KEEP
CALIFORNIA MARKET OPEN

1. (U) This message is based on information and analysis from
Embassy Mexico's Foreign Agricultural Service Office,
including the November 30, 2006 USDA Global Agriculture
Information Network Report Number MX6101.

SUMMARY
-------

2. (U) The Avocado Producers and Exporters Association of
Mexico (APEAM) is girding itself for a legal struggle to
defeat attempts by the state of California and the California
Avocado Commission (CAC) to close the state to imports of
Mexican avocados. All imported Mexican avocados come from
Michoacan, which is President Calderon's home state and a
leading source of out-migration to the U.S. End summary.

MEXICAN AVOCADO EXPORTS ON THE RISE
-----------------------------------

3. (U) Mexico's avocado industry has made great strides in
recent years. Though the domestic market continues to absorb
the majority of Mexican production, exports are growing
rapidly, due a number of factors. First, the USG has
progressively opened up the U.S. market, granting Mexican
Hass avocados access to all U.S. states except California,
Florida, and Hawaii on a year-round basis on January 1, 2005,
and year-round access to California, Florida, and Hawaii
starting February 1, 2007. Just as important, Mexican
growers (with the support of Mexican agriculture officials)
have generally been successful in implementing phytosanitary
requirements and good manufacturing practices for fresh
avocados. Even though these practices increase production
costs, the industry recognizes that they are key to
maintaining access to overseas markets. Mexican avocado
exports to the U.S. have grown from 112,000 metric tons in
Market Year 2004-05 to 130,000 metric tons in Market Year
2005-06. U.S. imports for the Market Year 2006-2007 will
likely jump even higher, due to the combination of the freeze
that wiped out roughly a quarter of California's production
in January 2007 and the February 1 opening of the avocado
markets in that state plus Florida and Hawaii.

CALIFORNIA GROWERS ATTEMPT TO RE-CLOSE DOOR
-------------------------------------------

4. (U) The California legislature and the California Avocado
Commission (CAC) are taking a number of steps to reverse the
February 1, 2007 opening of the California market to avocados
imported from Mexico. This week the CAC filed a lawsuit
against USDA seeking an injunction against Mexican imports
based on the presence of an armored pest on Mexican avocados
that USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, or
APHIS, considers to pose no phytosanitary risk. In addition,
members of the California state Senate recently proposed the
California Avocado Pest and Disease Prevention Act of 2007,
which if signed into law would give the state's avocado
industry some degree of regulatory authority over
out-of-state competitors. This bill has passed the Senate
Agriculture Committee but must successfully negotiate a
number of other legislative steps before it becomes state law.

MEXICANS FIGHTING BACK
----------------------

5. (U) Worried about losing access to the recently opened and
highly lucrative California market, the Avocado Producers,
Packers, and Exporters Association of Mexico (APEAM) has
committed considerable resources to supporting the U.S.
Justice Department's defense of USDA's decision to open up
the California market against the CAC suit. If an injunction
is granted versus imported Mexican avocados, APEAM hopes to
be able to win status as an economically harmed party, which
would allow APEAM to appeal any putative injunction.

MICHOACAN - LEADING EXPORTER OF AVOCADOS, ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS
--------------------------------------------- ---------------

6. (U) The state of Michoacan, just west of the state of
Mexico, is far and away the country's leading grower of
avocados, accounting for roughly 88 percent of national
production. Michoacan is also the only state in Mexico that
has been certified by APHIS to export avocados to the United
States. It is also worth noting that Michoacan is one of the

MEXICO 00001933 002 OF 002


leading sources of immigrants (documented and undocumented)
to the United States. We have no data at this time
suggesting how many jobs in Michoacan are directly connected
to avocado exports to California, but it seems clear that
many Michoacanos respond to unemployment by looking for work
north of the border.


Visit Mexico City's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/wha/mexicocity
GARZA

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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