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The Mexican government is imposing provisional duties on most U.S. apple exports, beginning Jan. 7, as its investigation continues into an antidumping complaint brought by growers in the Mexican border state of Chihuahua.

Red Delicious apples days before harvest in Selah, Washington on August 31, 2015. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Exports of Red Delicious apples will be affected by Mexico decision (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Mexico is the leading export market for U.S. apples, and roughly 85 percent of those exports come from Washington.

Under Mexico’s provisional ruling, published Wednesday in its Diario Oficial, all U.S. exporters of apples will have to pay duties, with the exception of Monson Fruit, CPC International and Washington Fruit and Produce.

The duties range from 2.44 percent to 20.82 percent, with an average for most companies at 7.55 percent.

“While we are still evaluating the ruling to determine next steps, we believe that these anti-dumping duties are unjustified, and are disappointed that the Mexican government chose not to terminate the investigation and dismiss the petition,” the Northwest Fruit Exporters said in a statement.

The Chihuahua growers’ association UNIFRUT, alleged in December 2014 that U.S. apples entered the Mexican market in 2013 at below fair market value. The arm of the Mexican government that investigates international trade practices, the Ministry of Economy or Economia, launched an investigation.

About 40 U.S. apple companies submitted information to Economia, and a sample of those were selected to submit additional information for the ongoing investigation, among them some of the biggest apple shippers in the world.

Among Washington growers, Mexico is a critical export market for shippers of Red Delicious and Golden Delicious apples.

Mexican trade officials last imposed duties on U.S. shipments from 1996 to 2010. They were lifted after a NAFTA review panel determined they had used outdated calculations.

Here’s a link to the Mexican government’s decision in Spanish.

Update: The Yakima Herald-Republic has an follow up on U.S. grower reaction, saying the impact of the Mexican decision is unclear. The Herald reported this comment by Todd Fryhover of the Washington Apple Commission:

“Obviously we’re very disappointed that the Mexican government didn’t dismiss this petition because we feel that nothing was done wrong,” said Todd Fryhover, president of the Wenatchee-based Washington Apple Commission. “Only time will tell what the impact will be.”