June 15, 2017 - The International Services (IS) Mexico City office plays a major role in safeguarding American agriculture. They oversee 10 other IS offices in Mexico, work closely with the U.S. Embassy Mexico City front office, the Embassy’s Regional Security Office (RSO), and ensure proper agricultural safeguarding measures are in place with our nation’s largest agricultural trading partner. The United States exported $18 billion in agricultural products to Mexico in 2016 while importing $23 billion.
Most of the Mexican exports to the United States are “raw” products, including avocados, tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, and citrus fruit. Because these fruits and vegetables may harbor fruit flies and other exotic pests, it is critical to have reliable phytosanitary measures in place to regulate this trade.
The avocado offshore export program has been in continuous operation since 1997, when the first shipments arrived to the American market and were valued at little more than $28 million. Since then, per capita avocado consumption in the U.S. has grown six-fold from 1 to 6 pounds per year over the past two decades. Today, the export program is worth billions of dollars, employing tens of thousands of workers along the entire supply and distribution chain on both sides of the border, all the while meeting strict U.S. phytosanitary import standards, design to prevent fruit flies and other pests from entering the country.
Ensuring that both offshore export and pre-clearance programs function smoothly is critical to the phytosanitary security of the United States. To this end, IS partners with Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) to plan and execute technical operational work plans for approved commodities. Additionally, the safety and security of all APHIS employees is paramount. To ensure this, a security review of the APHIS mango preclearance and avocado export programs was conducted in the State of Michoacán the week of May 8, 2017. No major issues turned up during the technical and safety review.