See related content/updated coverage: Tomatoes from Mexico officially cost more.
A final suspension agreement with Mexico that sets higher floor prices for tomatoes was not in place early March 4.
A final agreement from the U.S. Department of Commerce is due March 4. The department took comments on the plan through Feb. 11.
“It is not in place yet,” Lance Jungmeyer, president of Nogales, Ariz.-based Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, said at 10:45 a.m. CST March 4. “Until (the Department of Commerce) puts out something official, with a new effective date, we are advising sellers to operate under the existing agreement that was signed in 2008.”
The Commerce Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the agreement’s status.
Under a draft of the agreement, greenhouse tomato reference prices would rise from 21.6 to 41 cents per pound in winter, and from 17.2 to 32.5 cents a pound in summer. Increases for open field product would be smaller.
Importers opposed to the agreement have said Mexican growers will have trouble moving their crops at those prices during peak production times.
The Maitland-based Florida Tomato Committee initiated the chain of events that resulted in the draft agreement when it filed documents with the Commerce Department and the U.S. International Trade Commission requesting withdrawal from a 1996 anti-dumping duty petition.
Florida growers say they’ve been hurt by Mexican growers dumping tomatoes below cost.