Florida Tomato Exchange says no more Mexican ‘maters
The Florida Tomato Exchange (FTE), based in Maitland, Fla., has officially asked the government of the United States to sever the tomato suspension agreement with Mexico based on what Reggie Brown, FTE manager, said are “unfair trade practices."
FTE filed documents with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission requesting withdrawal from a 1996 anti-dumping duty petition. Withdrawing the petition ends the suspension agreement, which sets a floor price for Mexican tomatoes exported to the United States. The current suspension agreement is the third put in place since the 1996 petition.
“The situation has been brewing for several years,” Brown said.
This year has been especially tough for Florida growers, who had a strong crop but lower than normal prices.
"It's as bad as it's been in 20 years," Brown said. "We are awash in excess produce. Prices are as low as we've ever seen. It's not a good season by any means."
Brown urges all domestic tomato growers to take notice and take action.
“Any domestic grower or packer that wants to participate needs to get in touch with me,” he said. “If their business has been injured by Mexican imports, they need to speak up and join the industry effort to provide a level playing field for the domestic tomato industry.
“If we as an industry don’t act to stop unfair trading in tomatoes, we will wake up without a domestic industry.”
Brown can be reached at (407) 660-1949 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.