The comments of Jesus Silva-Herzog, Mexico’s ambassador to the U.S. during a luncheon at the Ritz-Cartoon downtown concerning the U.S. embargo on Mexican avocados brought to mind an absurd incident in Atlanta last October.
At the insistence of the U.S. Department of Agricultural, 80 kilos (176.3 pounds) of avocados were only allowed to be shipped here from Mexico for a trade show held at the World Congress Center on condition that after the show they all had to be burned.
Mexican avocados already are for sale in Alaska and 19 states in the Northeast, but a powerful lobby of U.S. growers primarily in California has managed to keep them out of the rest of the U.S.
“Mexican avocados are banned because someone found a disease-carrying mosquito in the fruits in 1914,” Mr. Silva-Herzog told attendees at the luncheon sponsored by the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and the Southern Center for International Studies.
He predicted, however, that the ban would soon be lifted, and joked that the mosquito must be dead by now.
Mr. Silva-Herzog also predicted that the dispute between the U.S. and Mexico over cross-border trucking will be solved in a few weeks.
While the Mexican government is reluctant to allow U.S. trucks over 48 feet long into the country, “the average truck in the U.S. is 53 feet long, so you can see that we still have some negotiating to do. However, I think that the problem will be solved in a few weeks.”
In addition, he said that Mexico’s exports made possible by Nafta was one of the reasons that the country was able to repay its debt to the U.S. ahead of time.
The Mexican government’s program of economic austerity, structural changes in the economy that the government made before the peso crashed and economic assistance from the U.S. and the International Monetary Fund also were instrumental in his country’s recovery, he added.