Local restaurant: Possible tax on Mexican goods negatively affec - KMOV.com

Local restaurant: Possible tax on Mexican goods negatively affecting us already

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The owner of Lucha Mexican Soul Food says a possible tax on Mexican goods is already raising prices on ingredients he uses. Credit: KMOV The owner of Lucha Mexican Soul Food says a possible tax on Mexican goods is already raising prices on ingredients he uses. Credit: KMOV
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

A St. Louis restaurant owner said he's already felt the impact from the national conversation over the relationship between U.S. and Mexico.

Lucha Mexican Soul Food proprietor Hugo Perez said he paid 25 percent more for avocados on Thursday.

“I don’t know if its momentum, rumors, the inevitable of what’s going to happen, but it’s already affecting us,” said Perez.

Perez said when he went to pick up items from his food distributor on Thursday, he was told one of the distributor's trucks couldn’t import limes, avocados and potatoes from Mexico, and that is likely what lead to the higher price.

He’s dealt with an uptick in price before, but the question now is could it become permanent?

“What has transpired in the past is these things are typically seasonal which I can absorb for a short period of time. If we’re looking at an ongoing permanent tax then I have no choice but to increase my prices,” said Perez.

On Thursday, the White House said an option to pay for a wall between the U.S. and Mexico is to enact a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico.

Potential higher priced items include much more than tequila and avocados.

“One of the things people may not realize is vehicles are being made a lot in Mexico as well. We’re trying to build our U.S. vehicle growth and organizations, and to lose some of that or hinder that it’s a point of concern for our economy,” said Karlos Ramirez with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan St. Louis President and CEO.

Ramirez said, along with cars, some of Mexico’s top imports to the U.S. include fuel, plastic and oil.

He stressed it’s important not to overreact to possible policies, but to look at the facts.

There’s $1.5 billion in trade between the U.S. and Mexico every day, according to Ramirez, and Mexico is the second largest destination for U.S. goods and services.

If the United States decides to tax Mexican imports, Ramirez said you can expect the same coming from across the border directed towards American goods.

The main question left for business owners like Perez is how will customers react to the results.

“My bottom line isn’t an issue the question is whether the consumer is willing to pay the higher cost,” said Perez.

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