“The majority of our tomatoes — 75% to 80% — come from Mexico right now,” he said.
The Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, which represents companies that import Mexican tomatoes, was not involved in the negotiations. President Lance Jungmeyer said it’s not a reasonable solution.
Mexican officials who signed the agreement include representatives of grower groups Confederation of Agriculture Associations of the State of Sinaloa, Agricultural Council of Baja California, Mexican Association of Protected Horticulture, Sonora Regional Agricultural Union and National Confederation of Vegetable Producers.
Jungmeyer said many Nogales distributors are concerned about the effect of the price increases on buyer and consumer demand.
“A price increase this high gives the U.S. industry more room to maneuver, it gives them plenty of room to sell at 10 cents (per pound) below that floor price all day and essentially keep Mexico out of the market,” he said Feb. 4.
After being briefed on the deal by the Commerce Department officials, the Florida Tomato Exchange and Certified Greenhouse Farmers released a statement expressing “tentative support” for the revised suspension agreement.
“The agreement as it is currently structured is a step forward,” said Reggie Brown, executive vice president of the Florida Tomato Exchange, Maitland, Fla. Brown said the agreement’s higher prices validate the contention of U.S. growers.
“We still feel very strongly that the cost of production is essential to determining what the correct reference price should be, and we look forward in the future for Commerce to obtain that information and adjust the reference prices on that basis,” he said.