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A leading Mexican politician believes the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement may be in trouble without a renewed tomato suspension agreement.

Trade associations representing most of the tomato growers in Mexico issued a news release that praised the statement of the politician that linked a new tomato suspension agreement with the passage of the “new NAFTA.”

Sen. Gustavo Madero, chairman of the Economics Commission of the Mexican Senate, warned U.S. lawmakers in a letter that failure to ink a new tomato suspension agreement between the Commerce Department of Mexican tomato growers could slow down approval of the trade pact and threaten bilateral trade. The letter was sent to the chairs and ranking members of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee, according to a news release.

“We also understand that this termination (of the suspension agreement) had political reasons behind it, due to the demands of some Florida farmers and their representatives in Congress,” Madero said in the letter. “We realize, thus, that the Department of Commerce is seeking to replace this agreement with a new one, which will basically stop tomato shipments from Mexico to your country.  If these intentions become a reality, they could generate enormous difficulties for our country, because they would represent an obstacle for the ratification of the USMCA by our country.”

He said the  Mexican tomato industry represents $2 billion dollars in exports to the U.S. and accounts for about 400,000 direct jobs and one million indirect jobs in Mexico.

“We must point out that most of these jobs are filled by a vulnerable sector that would otherwise see immigration as an option,” he said in the letter.

Madero said two-way agricultural trade between the U.S. and Mexico could suffer without a new tomato suspension agreement.

“We would like to point out that Mexico is an essential market for U.S. farmers who grow corn, soybeans, apples, wheat, among others,” he said. “If what has become a problem for us continues to exist, it could lead to devastating repercussions for the trade of both countries.”

Rosario Beltran, president of two Mexican growers associations, thanked Madero for his support.

Beltran said in the release that Mexican growers continue to negotiate in good faith with the Commerce Department for a new agreement. However, he said that the proposals from the Commerce Department would have a “ devastating impact” on Mexican exports to the U.S. market. 

“We have always said we prefer an agreement, but that it must be fair,” Beltran said in the release.

 “Otherwise we have no option but go to the International Trade Commission and prove that we are not injuring the Florida growers. That will result in an open tomatoes market in the United States for the first time in 23 years.”

Submitted by Fred Leitz on Wed, 06/19/2019 - 09:27

Mexican growers weren't worried about the workers that were displaced in the US. If they are really worried about the workers losing jobs, they would let them come to the US under the H2A program. This way they would make more than the $10 a day they are paying them in Mexico. This whole problem for US growers comes down to wages we have to pay. We need fair trade, not dumping.

Submitted by Charles Rattenberg on Thu, 06/20/2019 - 18:27

It's the US government, not the Mexican growers who restrict workers under the H2A program. The future of American agriculture is fully dependent on an adequate workforce and neither the White House nor Congress have done anything to help.

In reply to by Fred Leitz (not verified)