One of the main points of contention regarding unfair trade with Mexico for Southeast specialty crop producers is the microscopic minimum wage Mexican employers pay their employees.
That compensation will increase, according to Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO). He has announced a plan to raise the minimum wage by 20% in 2023, according to Mexico News Daily.
The current minimum wage in Mexico is $8.95 U.S. per day across most of the country and $13.47 in the Free Trade Zone on the U.S.-Mexico border. AMLO’s plan would increase the minimum wage to $10.74 per day in most of the country and $16.16 in border areas.
It is still a lower rate than what growers in Florida and Georgia will have to pay in 2023. Florida growers must pay an extra 15.5% compared to last year, while Georgia producers must absorb a 14% increase.
The Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) for Georgia’s specialty crop producers will increase from $11.99 per hour in 2022 to $13.68 per hour in 2023. Florida’s new AEWR projects to climb to $14.33, up from $12.41 just a year ago.
Specialty crop farmers and industry leaders have contended that low wage rates have allowed Mexico to ship produce into the U.S. at a below-market rate. This allows more of its produce to be sold compared to U.S. growers.