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    A Mexican border tax would hit avocados, chili peppers, beer

    Agustin Lopez 40, unloads boxes of avocados from a truck in the Central de Abastos General Market in Mexico City for the fruit and vegetable international exporter Fruticola Velo Wednesday, Nov. 5, 1997 as the first shipmetns of these fruits rolled north into the United States Wednesday. The last time Americans ate imported Mexican avocados, it was 1914 and they were known as alligator pears. But the shiny green fruit rolled north again Wednesday as most of an 83-year-old trade ban fell. U.S. farmers contend it was needed to prevent pest infestation. Mexican farmers charged, however, that the ban was aimed at keeping prices high in the U.S. market, not controlling fruit flies. (AP Photo/ Elizabeth Dalziel)
    Boxes of avocados in Mexico City.

    The 20 percent tax on imports floated by the Trump administration would affect a wide range of agricultural goods. Mexico exported $21 billion of food and drink north of the border in 2015, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    Despite running an overall trade deficit with Mexico, U.S. food and drink exports to its southern neighbor don’t lag far behind, at $17.7 billion for 2015. The U.S. typically carries a trade surplus with its southern partner in years when grain and oilseed prices are high, as they were for most of the previous decade. Mexico was the biggest buyer of U.S. corn, soybean meal, rice and dairy products in 2015.

    2015 was the first year the U.S. had an agricultural-trade deficit with Mexico since 1995.