October 10, 1997 in Nation/World

Judges Reject Call To Block Apple Tariff

Compiled From Wire Services

Mexican judges have refused to block a penalty tariff on U.S. apples in a trade dispute that has cost Pacific Northwest apple growers their biggest export market.

Kraig Naasz, vice president of the Northwest Horticultural Council, said civil court judges in Mexico rejected a move Tuesday for an injunction against the 101 percent duty that took effect Sept. 1.

“We didn’t look upon the filing of that motion in the Mexican court system as a remedy for our situation,” Naasz said. “Rather, we had hoped to invite court scrutiny to exhaust every possible avenue of redress.”

The duty is considered preliminary, but a final decision is not expected before February, long after apple shipments to Mexico usually have begun.

The court action was announced on the eve of talks on the issue between Jon Huenemann, assistant U.S. Trade Representative for North American affairs, and Eduardo Solis, Mexico’s chief representative under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Mexico purchased 5.5 million boxes of apples worth $100 million from Washington state last season. Washington, Oregon and Idaho are the only states authorized to ship apples to Mexico.

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