(July 6) With 99.94% of the vote counted July 6 in Mexico’s presidential election, conservative candidate Felipe Calderon clung to a 0.55% lead over leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, according to vote tallies listed on the online newspaper www.reforma.com.

Alvaro Obregon, administrative manager for IPR Solutions LLC, Nogales, Ariz., said July 6 that the apparent election of the conservative Calderon likely means stability for the peso and the Mexican stock market.

Some analysts had predicted a peso devaluation if Obrador had prevailed.

However, Lopez Obrador has said he will ask for a tribunal to certify the outcome of the election, and there is no timetable on how long that process may take, one Mexican official in Canada said on background July 6.

The presidential election netted an estimated 60% of Mexico’s 71 million registered voters.

No matter the result of the election, some in the produce industry said they don’t expect much change in the produce business in Mexico.

Total U.S. agriculture imports from Mexico have increased from $5.2 billion in 2001 to $8.3 billion in 2005, an increase of 60%. In terms of fresh produce, U.S. imports of Mexican tomatoes have increased from $484 million in 2001 to $781 million in 2005 — a gain of 61%.

Meanwhile, total U.S. agriculture exports to Mexico have grown from $7.4 billion in 2001 to $9.3 billion in 2005, a gain of 26%.

U.S. exports of apples to Mexico were $99 million in 2005, a decline of $19 million compared with 2001. On the other hand, U.S. grape exports to Mexico have increased from $32 million in 2001 to $50 million in 2005.