Aug 21, 2019BREAKING: Mexico and U.S. reach deal to end tomato tariff dispute
According to Reuters, Mexican tomato producers have reached a deal with the U.S. government to avoid an anti-dumping investigation, Mexican Economy Minister Graciela Marquez said Aug. 21.
Under the deal, the vast majority of Mexican tomato exports will be subject to border inspections. Still, the accord provides a measure of relief to Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in his dealings with the Trump administration.
In May, the U.S. Commerce Department imposed a 17.5% tariff on Mexican tomatoes after the two sides failed to renew an earlier agreement that halted a U.S. anti-dumping probe. Since then, the two sides have held negotiations in search of a deal.
Calling the outcome of talks “good news” that kept the U.S. market open for tomato exporters, Marquez said on Twitter that the accord between the U.S. Commerce Department and Mexican producers had been reached shortly before midnight on Aug. 20.
USDA Secretary Perdue Statement on New Draft Suspension Agreement on Fresh Tomatoes from Mexico
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement after U.S. Department of Commerce announced a new Draft Suspension Agreement on Fresh Tomatoes from Mexico:
“I want to thank my colleagues at the U.S. Department of Commerce for working diligently to reach a mutually beneficial agreement for tomato growers in both the U.S. and Mexico. Protecting America’s tomato producers from the glut of Mexican imports is yet another example of President Trump’s commitment to ensuring our farmers have the ability to succeed in international markets, as well as right here at home. Tomato producers across America, including those in Arizona, California, the Carolinas, Florida, and Georgia will benefit from the elimination of the unfair trade practices we have seen from these Mexican tomato imports,” said Perdue.
“America’s farmers are the most productive on earth and President Trump recognizes that – I thank him for his continued work to secure fair trade that benefits our nation’s producers and consumers alike. When it comes to trade and agriculture, we have a mutually dependent relationship with Mexico and reaching a compromise here allows us to refocus our efforts towards quick passage by Congress of the broader U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.”
U.S. tomato growers applaud the New Suspension Agreement
“After 23 years of suspension agreements that never worked to protect American tomato growers from injurious dumping of Mexican tomatoes, the Mexican tomato industry agreed last night to a strong new suspension agreement, which U.S. growers support. The agreement establishes unprecedented measures and enforcement provisions that will help protect American tomato farmers from injurious dumped Mexican tomatoes.
The domestic tomato industry commends the Commerce Department and the Mexican industry for coming to an agreement that recognizes the need for stronger enforcement. We are committed to working hard with the Commerce Department to make sure the new agreement works.
The new tomato antidumping suspension agreement includes major provisions requested by U.S. growers to improve enforcement and monitoring of the agreement. The Mexican industry conceded on core provisions such as border inspections of all Mexican round, roma and bulk grape tomatoes, and improved compliance and monitoring tools. Without these and other new provisions, the agreement will not eliminate the injury being caused by unfairly traded Mexican tomatoes.
The entire Commerce Department negotiating team, under the leadership of Under Secretary Gilbert Kaplan, Assistant Secretary Jeffrey Kessler and Deputy Assistant Secretary Lee Smith, did a great job in making this new agreement possible. We look forward to this agreement being implemented in 30 days from now.”
United Fresh Statement on Tomato Suspension Agreement
“Early this morning, United Fresh learned that the Mexican tomato industry and the United States Department of Commerce have come to an agreement on a new tomato suspension agreement that would suspend the anti-dumping investigation which was reactivated on May 7, 2019. This will now start a 30 -day public comment period with a new agreement entering into force on Sept. 19, 2019, suspending the final determination of Department of Commerce and allow importers to be reimbursed of cash deposits made since May 7. The details of the agreement have yet to be announced, but United Fresh would like to congratulate all of those involved to resolve this matter to bring stabilization back to the tomato marketplace. This will be beneficial for the entire distribution chain, most importantly growers and consumers.”