Letter: Keep tomato suspension agreement intact - The Packer

Letter: Keep tomato suspension agreement intact

08/03/2012 09:30:00 AM
Eric Viramontes

Tell it to The Packer | Letter to the Editor

Eric Viramontes, chief executive officer

We are grateful for the years of support and goodwill given to the protected agriculture sector of Mexico.

AMHPAC growers strive every day to provide the safest, freshest and best-tasting vegetables the U.S. consumer can buy. Consumers have made tomatoes from Mexico the No. 1 food export item to the U.S.

Free trade agreements have a proven record in job creation, as seen in the exponential growth of U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico since NAFTA.

The protected agriculture sector in Mexico has created jobs in the U.S. — in transportation, distribution, equipment, sales and marketing in some of the most economically challenged U.S. counties.

There are accepted processes in place to address trade issues.

The tomato suspension agreement has been in place for 16 years.

It has successfully settled one of the largest bilateral trade disputes between our two countries and brings stability to the marketplace.

The agreement is scheduled for “sunset review” at the end of this year.

Press statements indicate that some Florida growers want to terminate the agreement simply to file a new case — leveraging the November U.S. elections.

Parties have always worked together on a mutually acceptable agreement.

Reignited trade disputes neither benefit the industry nor consumers, will drain both country’s resources, cause damage and hard feelings within the industry.

The tomato industry in Mexico and around the world has changed dramatically — with new technology and efficiencies, diverse growing areas and new varieties that are flavorful and appealing to consumers.

Florida has done little to evolve similarly during the same time.

We believe that quality products should be accessible without tariffs or price markups that mask inefficiencies that normally make others noncompetitive — within or outside our respective countries.

AMHPAC grower members would like a fair and peaceful resolution to this.

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