“It’s not for anybody’s pocket:” Local business voices concern over possible 20% tax on Mexican imports

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MILWAUKEE -- Earlier this week, the Trump Administration floated the idea of paying for a southern border wall with the revenue generated from a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico. Days later, a President Trump spokesperson says this is just one of a number of strategies which may be utilized to cover the costs. Still, the ripple effect of this suggestion continues to cause some concern

Pete's Fruit Market

Pete's Fruit Market

"It's good. They got a good price. I like it. I always come here to buy," said Margarita Garcia, Pete's Fruit Market shopper.

Margarita Garcia is among the people whose preferences for Pete's is prompted primarily by the produce prices.

Margarita Garcia

Margarita Garcia

"This is good for your health and it's cheap," said Garcia.

When Garcia heard about the new Trump Administration's potential plan to stick to a 20 percent tax cut on imports from Mexico...

"People going to get crazy," said Garcia.

"We bring stuff from all over the world but primarily the bulk is from Mexico," said Louis Demos, Pete's Fruit Market.

Pete's Fruit Market

Pete's Fruit Market

Having worked at Pete's Fruit Market for 17 years, Louis Demos says Pete's has a special place with the people of the south side Milwaukee community. This is because in an area where produce is at a premium, the grocery store fills a healthy niche at a cost which is commensurate with their customer's income.

Louis Demos

Louis Demos

"That's our goal; to provide the whole area with fresh vegetables and fruits at affordable prices," said Demos.

Pete's is also preparing to open a new place on Martin Luther King Drive and North Avenue within the next week several weeks.

"We're excited to go there. We're excited to feed them," said Demos.

Pete's Fruit Market

Pete's Fruit Market

Demos says keeping costs low at both locations would be more difficult to do if the tax is tacked on.

"It's not a good idea. It's not for anybody's pocket. It's not for the morale of our people and I hope they won't go through with it -- regardless what they're going to do with the money. That's not the issue," said Demos.

According to the office of the United States Trade Representative, in 2015, $9.1 billion worth of produce was imported from Mexico to the United States.

Demos says, in his opinion, the avocados and much of the rest of the produce purchased at Pete's are much better quality when they come from Mexico.

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