Nov 22, 2019ITC: Mexican tomato dumping threatens US growers
In a unanimous decision on Nov. 22, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) made an affirmative determination that dumped Mexican tomato imports threaten the U.S. industry with material injury. This determination comes on the heels of an announcement last month by the U.S. Department of Commerce, which found that Mexican tomatoes had been dumped in the U.S. market at an average margin of 21% less than fair value.
According to a news release from the Florida Tomato Exchange (FTE), these rulings validate the U.S. industry’s long-held claims about dumped Mexican tomatoes. The ITC will formally issue its determination on Dec. 9, which will mark the end of the antidumping investigation that began in 1996.
An affirmative determination in an antidumping investigation typically leads to the imposition of duties on the subject imports, but since the investigation was completed after the signing of a new suspension agreement, the antidumping duties will be suspended for as long as the agreement remains in place, according to the news release.
“If either side withdraws from the agreement, the duties will be immediately imposed. The Florida Tomato Exchange (FTE) hopes that this new reality will instill discipline among exporters and importers of Mexican tomatoes so that they will not attempt to circumvent the rules of the suspension agreement,” the news release stated.
The U.S. industry is looking forward to finally turning the page after two difficult years of negotiations and investigations.
“The new agreement provides a level of certainty that has that has been lacking over the last couple of years on both sides of the border, and we hope all parties can now focus on complying with the terms of the new agreement,” said Michael Schadler, executive vice president of the FTE. “We will remain very engaged with the Commerce Department to ensure that the inspection and compliance provisions of the new agreement are being followed and enforced properly.”
The FTE is thankful to its fellow tomato growers around the country that worked together to make sure the Commerce Department recognized that this was a national issue. This national recognition was helped by the bipartisan support of Members of Congress from 11 different states who understood the importance of sustaining American agriculture that is threatened by unfairly priced imports.
The member companies of the Florida Tomato Exchange produce over 90 percent of the tomatoes grown in Florida and are among the largest producers of tomatoes in California, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, and Puerto Rico. FTE member companies produce approximately 50 percent of the fresh-market tomatoes grown in the U.S. The FTE is the domestic petitioner in the antidumping case against fresh tomatoes from Mexico.