Mexico has agreed to drop a steep antidumping tariff on Pacific Northwest apples, according to a Dow Jones report.



A new five-year agreement sets aside a 46.6 percent tariff on Red and Golden Delicious apples that has been in effect since August 2002. It takes effect Feb. 28.



The new agreement comes after two trade missions led by Gov. Gary Locke. Locke most recently met in June with Mexican President Vicente Fox and other officials, hoping to increase exports of Washington apples, cherries and potatoes.



The agreement was negotiated between the Mexican government and Yakima-based Northwest Fruit Exporters, a nonprofit that manages apple and cherry export programs for about 85 packers and shippers in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.



The agreement, which allows the two apple varieties to be exported duty-free into Mexico, applies only to Northwest-area exporters of Red and Golden Delicious apples who are members of Northwest Fruit Exporters.