Trump ‘Favorably Disposed’ to Resuming Argentine Lemon Imports

  • Trump comments in meeting with Argentine President Macri
  • U.S. president also says he’ll attend G20 meeting in Argentina

What Argentina's Macri Needs From Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump told his Argentine counterpart that he is reviewing the issue of lemon imports from the South American country after his administration halted a measure to allow renewed shipments to the U.S.

“I know all about the lemons,” Trump told reporters when greeting Argentine President Mauricio Macri at the White House on Thursday. “We are reviewing that very seriously. We’re going to be very favorably disposed.”

Unblocking the freeze on lemon imports would represent a symbolic victory for Macri, who has pledged to open up Argentina after more than a decade of economic and geopolitical isolationism. Macri, who has known Trump for more than 30 years, is hoping to leverage that relationship to open up access for Argentine products in the U.S. market.

Argentina, one of the world’s biggest lemon exporters, sold $467 million of lemons abroad last year and exported $61 million of lemon juice to the U.S., according to Abeceb, a Buenos Aires-based consultancy.

The Trump administration in January suspended a decision negotiated under former President Barack Obama to allow fresh lemons to be imported from Argentina after a 15-year hiatus. The stay was extended on March 17, stoking concern in Argentina that Macri’s plans to open up and encourage trade would be foiled by Trump. The U.S. Department of Agriculture didn’t immediately reply to an email seeking comment Thursday.

Trump also praised Macri for his economic reforms and said he plans to attend the G20 meetings in Buenos Aires. The two countries plan to collaborate on cybersecurity, he said.

“The incredible economic path that Argentina is now on is something for the world to watch,” Trump said of Macri. “I’ll tell him about North Korea and he’ll tell me about lemons.”

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— With assistance by Megan Durisin, and Jonathan Gilbert

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