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.