(UPDATED COVERAGE, Jan. 13) Mexico will keep import penalties in place but won’t rotate punitive tariffs in place against 99 U.S. goods related to the long-running truck access dispute with the U.S.

Mexican officials made the announcement Jan. 11 after meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, The Associated Press reported.

The Mexican government announced it will maintain tariffs but won’t add to or change the list of U.S. goods subject to the tariff, pending talks between the two countries on a new program to allow Mexican cargo trucks on U.S. roads, according to the AP.

“It is nice to see something be put on the table,” Kevin Moffitt, president and chief executive officer of Pear Bureau Northwest, Milwaukie, Ore.

Moffitt estimates Northwest pear growers have lost close to $27 million in sales to Mexico since the retaliatory tariffs began in March 2009.

“I like seeing some action, even it is just talking,” he said. “It has to start with talking.”

“It sounds like that would be a reasonable step by the Mexican authorities to extend an olive branch and work toward a constructive resolution,” said Kam Quarles, director of legislative affairs for Washington, D.C.-based McDermott Will & Emery law firm.

Mexican government has for years protested the U.S. ban on Mexican trucks as a violation of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.

Mexico enacted the tariffs in early 2009, not long after the U.S. ended a pilot program that had allowed Mexican truck drivers to operate in the U.S. Mexico changed the list of items covered in the tariff in August last year.

Retaliatory Mexican duties on U.S. fresh produce are:

  • Apples 20%
  • Apricots 20%
  • Cherries 20%
  • Grapefruit 20%
  • Grapes 20% (originally 45%)
  • Oranges 20%
  • Onions 10%
  • Pears 20%
  • Potatoes (prepared/frozen) 5%
  • Strawberries 20%
  • Sweet corn 15%
UPDATED: Mexico extends ‘olive branch’ on truck issue