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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 November 2005, 15:57 GMT
Mexico curbs Christmas tree bugs
By Claire Marshall
BBC News, Mexico City

Christmas trees (generic)
Potential environmental hazards
Mexico has strengthened controls on imports of US and Canadian Christmas trees to avoid foreign plant bugs, Mexican environmental officials say.

More than 100 agents are to be posted along the US-Mexico border.

This time, rather than US officials trying to stop Mexican migrants heading north, it is Mexican agents who are stopping illegals from coming south.

But these are no ordinary immigrants - they are insects carried on branches of Christmas trees for the festive season.

The hunt will be focused on gipsy moths and pine shoot beetles, as they can cause the most severe damage.

This crackdown comes as Mexico's own Christmas tree-growing market is blossoming thanks to government subsidies.

Mexican trees cost half the price of their US counterparts.

The hope of the Mexican government is that they come to dominate the domestic market and eventually infiltrate the US and Canadian markets too.

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16 Feb 04 |  Americas

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