Chamberlain said the suspension agreement has been used successfully for 16 years and shouldn’t be abandoned.
In particular, he said potential preliminary antidumping tariffs following the end of the suspension agreement and put in place during a dumping investigation would have a chilling effect on importers. For example, he said the Department of Commerce could initially create a 40% preliminary duty but 10 months later raise it to 50%. That would create cash flow problems for importers because they would have no way to get the extra margin needed to pay the government, Chamberlain said.“It would be impossible to pay,” he said.
A Commerce Department spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Jan. 24 that agency officials are talking with Mexican growers and exporters on the suspension agreement, with talks taking place in Washington, D.C.
Terence Stewart, managing partner in Stewart and Stewart, Washington, D.C., represents domestic growers seeking a changed-circumstance review with the Department of Commerce.
Stewart said there are three proceedings relating to the tomato dispute.
One process, with no set timeline, is the consultation between Mexican producers who are subject to the suspension agreement and the Commerce Department.
Another process is the changed-circumstances review that the Department of Commerce initiated. That process has a 270-day deadline from when it was initiated in August.
“At the moment, we’re on a schedule where factual submissions have been completed and briefings start next week and the week after,” he said Jan. 23. No date has yet been set for a hearing, he said.
The last part of the process is a sunset review of the suspension agreement, which has seen two postponements by the Department of Commerce, Stewart said.