Tomato grower-shippers in Mexico and others in the industry were caught off-guard in late August when the U.S. Commerce Department, at the request of Florida tomato interests, announced the possible end to the tomato suspension agreement that had set a floor price for imports since the mid-1990s.
Fears of a trade war emerge with Commerce Department announcement.
Anti-dumping agreement review brings charges of tomato trade war
By Tom Karst, National Editor
Agreeing to take another look at the anti-dumping suspension agreement on fresh tomatoes imported from Mexico, the Department of Commerce said the agency will take comments until Sept. 4 on the pact that has governed the price of imported Mexican tomatoes since 1996.
The Commerce Department’s review falls short of what some U.S. tomato interests had wanted — an outright termination of the suspension agreement. Florida tomato interests say they have been subject to unfair trade practices from Mexican tomato exporters for years.
According to the Department of Commerce, the suspension agreement covers more than 85% of the Mexico’s tomato shipments to the U.S.
AMHPAC, the Mexican greenhouse grower group, readies for a fight.
Mexico greenhouse producers debate tomato suspension agreement
By Fred Wilkinson, Managing Editor
GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Mexico’s greenhouse tomato producers are working for peace but preparing for war.
While Mexican tomato industry representatives continue working with commerce officials to avoid a possible trade war resulting from Florida growers’ call to end the tomato suspension agreement, members of AMHPAC approved an assessment based on a grower’s acreage to raise funds for legal fees in the case.
The vote was Aug. 22, the opening day of the annual convention of AMHPAC, the Mexican association of protected horticulture.
Eric Viramontes, AMHPAC director general and chief executive officer, said the marketplace has room for growers from all regions and that Florida’s effort distracted from a shared interest in growing U.S. tomato consumption.
“We would love not to fight,” Viramontes said Aug. 24.
He said scuttling the agreement could bring retaliatory action from Mexico.
The tomato suspension agreement between Mexican tomato growers and the U.S. appears to be doomed, potentially opening up new trade frictions between the two countries.