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Happy National Avocado Day!

July 31, 2018 by Matthew Rooney
Managing Director of the Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative Matthew Rooney discusses the importance of avocados as they relate to trade, NAFTA, and our relationship with Mexico.

TRANSCRIPT: We wanted to wish everyone a happy National Avocado Day. We wanted to do that because we like avocados, but also because we don’t think people understand well enough where avocados come from, and how important avocados really are. In 1983, before NAFTA came into effect, American’s consumed approximately one pound of avocados per year- every American, on average, one pound of avocados per year. Today, Americans consume on average seven pounds of avocados per year. That’s over a million tons of avocados per year. But, the United States only produces about 200,000 tons of avocados every year. That means we import from outside the United States, about 800,000 tons of avocados every year. Most of those, almost all of them, come from Mexico. Almost all of those enter the United States through Laredo, Texas. Those avocados that you eat, and you like having made into guacamole and other things, come to you from Mexico, courtesy of the state of Texas. Texas is proud and happy to be able to play that role. I think it’s important for people to understand where things come from. To realize, that avocados are a great example of another important point about trade, which is that nations don’t trade- people trade. The United States doesn’t import avocados from Mexico because the United States government has decided that avocados should be imported from Mexico, it’s because you and I enjoy eating avocados, and Mexico makes excellent avocados.


Author

Matthew Rooney
Matthew Rooney

Matthew Rooney joined the Bush Center in June 2015 following a career as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State. At postings in Washington and abroad, he focused on advocating market-driven solutions to economic policy challenges in both industrialized and developing countries, and on protecting the interests of U.S. companies abroad.

In Washington, Rooney was on loan to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to create a high-level private sector advisory body for the Summits of the Americas, working closely with the U.S. private sector and with companies and business associations from throughout the Americas to negotiate an agenda to promote economic integration in the region.  Previously, he was Deputy Assistant Secretary responsible for relations with Canada and Mexico and for regional economic policy.  In prior Washington assignments, Rooney worked for then-Senator Fred Thompson, and supported negotiations to open global markets to U.S. airline services.

Abroad, Rooney was Consul General in Munich, a Consulate General providing a full range of Consular and export promotion services, supporting a permanent presence of 30,000 U.S. forces in two major base complexes, and carrying out a media and public relations initiative in support of U.S. diplomatic objectives in Germany. As Counselor for Economic and Commercial Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador, El Salvador, he laid the groundwork for free trade negotiations between the United States and the five countries of Central America, and promoted market-based reforms for electrical power. Prior to this, he served in various posts in Germany, Gabon and Côte d’Ivoire.

Rooney studied Economics, German and French at the University of Texas at Austin and received his Master’s Degree in International Management at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Full Bio

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