A New Era, or Something
Needless to say, some of Donald Trump's policy ideas have caused a bit of an uproar. Knowledgeable (and not so knowledgeable) people from all over the world have expressed confusion, dismay, or cautious support for his wide array of proposals. This seems true across the entire spectrum of Trump's ideas, but nowhere has the firestorm been so intense as it is around his proposed tax on imported goods.
The details are difficult to sort out, but the proposal seems to work in the following manner. Irked by the unwillingness of the Mexican government to pay for the wall he promised to build along our southern border, Trump is now seriously considering imposing a 20% tax on all goods coming into the United States from Mexico.
By all accounts, the plan may eventually apply to other countries as well. But at least for now, the Mexican government's refusal to pay for the border wall has led the Trump administration to focus on goods imported from Mexico.
Much to the chagrin of healthy eaters and guacamole lovers all over the country, this tax would apply to all of the avocados we import from Mexico, as well as to the rest of the vegetables we purchase from our friends to the south. While there is much disagreement regarding the precise effect the proposed tax would have, many experts believe that the price of avocados could increase significantly as a result of this policy.
Let's have a look at why this matters.
We Depend on Mexican Farmers For Avocados
These are rough estimates, but the United States imports approximately 70 percent of its total avocado supply each year. And while a tiny portion of these come from Central and South America, the bulk of these imported avocados come from Mexico. That means that approximately two-thirds of the U.S. avocado supply could be affected by the proposed tax.
The effect of the proposed tax would be most noticeable when the avocado was in high demand. That means around the Fourth of July and the week of the Super Bowl. Recently, the price of an avocado has increased to approximately during these high demand periods. And although a 20 percent tax does not necessarily lead to a 20 percent rise in cost, it is reasonable to notice an appreciable spike at these times of the year.
The reality of avocado growth is another concern to reckon with here. If the proposed tax were to become reality at some point, it is reasonable to expect that fewer Americans will purchase the higher priced avocados from Mexico. At first glance, this might seem like a minor concern, but any further inspection suggests that the tax could have a significant impact on the American consumer.
It can take up to four years for a newly planted avocado tree to bear actual fruit. This means that for the first few years of the proposed tax, American consumers would either have to pay the higher price or simply do without. This would have an even greater impact on organically grown avocados, as they already cost up to 30 percent more than their non-organic counterparts.
So Much Depends On the Avocado
All of this might seem like much ado about nothing, but the avocado is a crucial part of a healthy diet for many people. This is especially true for vegans and other natural health communities, who often depend on the avocado for an invaluable source of their necessary protein. Needless to say, a 20 percent tax on Mexican crops could have a profound effect on these communities, even if only a portion of the price increase is passed on to the consumer.
A spike in avocado prices could affect nonvegans as well. In addition to being a rich source of vegetarian protein, avocados also contain high amounts of vitamins, carotenoids, and healthy fats. A typical serving of avocado is high in Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E. They also supply consumers with healthy amounts of potassium and B vitamins. There are very few foods that have as many diverse benefits as the avocado.
Truth be told, it's unclear what effect the proposed tax might have on the global economy. However, it is readily apparent that any policy that affects the price of avocados could have a significant impact the dietary habits of many Americans. Regardless of its overall fairness and validity, the proposed tax on Mexican goods does not bode well for the immediate future of avocados in the United States.