Florida growers file lawsuit over new tomato pact - The Packer

Florida growers file lawsuit over new tomato pact

05/02/2013 08:13:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

Florida’s tomato growers are challenging the U.S. Commerce Department’s agreement with Mexican tomato growers that sets a floor price on imports.

In the latest volley between the two sides over the tomato suspension agreement and antidumping investigation, the Florida Tomato Exchange filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Court of International Trade.

Florida’s tomato industry filed the lawsuit to ensure the deal with Mexican companies complies with federal trade laws designed to ensure fair trade on imported goods, according to a May 1 news release by the Maitland-based exchange.

“Farming is one of America’s most important industries, and most enduring ways of life,” Reggie Brown, the exchange’s executive vice president, said in the release. “Tomato farmers in Florida and across America can compete favorably in a market that is both free and fair.”

The renewed agreement, originally established in 1996, occurred in early March and sets different prices for field grown and greenhouse/protected production.

“Since day one, we have simply been seeking to have any suspension agreement negotiated by the Commerce Department with the Mexican exporters comply with the very specific provisions of U.S. law,” Brown said in the release. “We don’t believe that the recently concluded suspension agreement does.

“Our only recourse is to place the question of whether the agreement meets the requirements of the law before the U.S. Court of International Trade.”

Brown declined to comment on the lawsuit beyond the news release.

Comments (13) Leave a comment 

e-Mail (required)


characters left

Dayton  |  May, 02, 2013 at 09:11 AM

Reggie - what are you saying? You got the 40% increase in the floor price as well as increased scrutiny or more accountability from the Mexican shippers & agents. What else do you want? What are you going to do about increasing exposure of Florida tomatoes at retail level where 60% of the tomato department is imported? Quit complaining. I think the "deal is done".

FL  |  May, 02, 2013 at 09:28 AM

The "Deal is not done" until accountability & policing is put in place. There have been several loads of marginal fruit cross the border in Texas this week being sold for 4.50 to 5.00 loaded. Who is watching this?

TX  |  May, 02, 2013 at 11:17 AM

The biggest pressure the FL guys continue to get and will get are from GH product. Far superior and the consumers know it and vote with their pocket books. Tastee Lee is the best product coming out of FL.

Texas  |  May, 02, 2013 at 01:51 PM

More Florida lies from the Tomato Cartel......but Reggie said it all when he crashed the America Trades conference two years ago,,,,"We don't want Mexico to have anything"

Al  |  May, 02, 2013 at 03:46 PM

As the tomato turns! What's the big deal? How is any kind of agreement ever going to work if no one is held accountable for thier actions? How are we going to stop illegal tomatoes from crossing the border when we can't stop drugs and illegal aliens from crossing? I have some sugestions for Mr. Brown and the Florida Tomato exchange. Let's ask our government to lower the price of fuel, as any grower knows the fuel price controls the price of a great portion of the materials used to farm. We need to hire labor that will work for 10.00 per day, and stop dreaming up more and more regulations. Get the growing cost down. Put the U.S growers on a level playing field and they will be able to compete.

AR  |  May, 03, 2013 at 03:22 PM

Seriously? $10 a day for labor..

US  |  May, 03, 2013 at 03:24 PM

Totally disagree on the Tastee Lee.. size of a golf ball.

Al  |  May, 06, 2013 at 03:42 PM

check your pay scale in Mexico and see what they make.

Tired of Florida    
Quincy  |  May, 06, 2013 at 05:19 PM

Florida is the whiniest state there is. From the Florida growers who cannot accept the fact that consumer prefers the vineripes and greenhouse product (as well as a host of winter vegetables) they now can get from elsewhere in the US, Mexico and Canada which are better quality and tastier than Florida's product. From the Florida Cubans who have been special children and welfare queens since 1959 and lord it over other immigrants from Latin America as well as our whole country when it comes to actually beginning to do business with an island nation which could be a fantastic produce partner of ours. (Hey we trade with China and Vietnam; what is so special about Cuba's status as a commie country). And it goes on with the ridiculous price of sugar, the destruction of the environment that the rest of the country has to pay for, and insanely located buildings that we in the rest of the country routinely have to pay to help rebuild. Just don't force us to eat your crappy produce because of your political power. I would not be surprised if the working conditions for farm workers in Florida are worse than they are for farmers in Mexico. It is just the kind of bloody minded hypocrites you have in Florida. But there are produce commodities where Florida has become world class - like early season blueberries. Despite some crappy seasons for them, blueberry growers in Florida have done an amazing job. Because they grow what people want, do it well and have a good window. It's called the free market. Already, with the new agreement we are dealing with tomatoes going from Mexico to Canada, to be sold cheap, which then frees up more Canadian tomatoes to come to the US not subject to the floors. What a mess.

Ben Hedges    
Virginia  |  May, 06, 2013 at 05:28 PM

Prison Labor, Florida's got a huge surplus with more arriving every day.Prisoners would welcome the fresh air.

sick of it all    
AZ  |  May, 07, 2013 at 09:46 AM

Will the sniveling ever end? Florida will never be happy unless they can sit there, do nothing to improve their market offerings and collect fat paychecks at the expense of others. Congratulations, your fight for relevance has ended and no one cares to hear your whining

TX  |  May, 07, 2013 at 10:03 AM

Bla, Bla, Bla, Bla -

Kansas  |  May, 19, 2013 at 09:40 PM

Even if Florida tomato growers could produce tomatoes at lower prices as the Mexican growers, I'd still prefer the Mexican tomatoes because they taste so much better. I would not eat those horrible, gassed, never-to-truly-ripen tomatoes even if someone gave them to me. So if they want my business, they need to stop the whining and finger-pointing, and start figuring out how to get a better tomato to market. You don't need the government to fix your problem. Meanwhile, I'll just keep growing my own.

Feedback Form
Leads to Insight