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Days before the Department of Commerce plans set to set aside its Tomato Suspension Agreement with Mexican growers, panelists at the Viva Fresh Expo will discuss the issue.

The Texas International Produce Association is presenting a workshop with representatives of Mexican tomato exporters and U.S. importers on April 26. The Commerce Department plans to end the agreement on May 7.
TIPA President and CEO Dante Galeazzi will moderate the session, according to a news release.

“This withdrawal stands to create dramatic changes in how Mexican tomato imports are handled,” Galeazzi said in the release. “We felt it was important to include this workshop in our Friday sessions to help educate the industry on what to expect and from a business perspective, how supplies could look moving forward.”   

Scheduled panelists are:

  • Martin Ley, president of Fresh Evolution, who was involved in negotiations leading to the suspension agreement;
  • Jason Klinowski, agricultural and food law attorney at Wallace, Jordan, Ratli¬ & Brandt LLC, who works on Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act and Food Safety Modernization Act issues; and
  • J.O. Alvarez, president of customs brokerage J.O. Alvarez Inc., 4 Logistics LLC, SE-Transport LLC, Cross Border Logistics Transport and JOA ColdPoint LLC.

“This session is a timely opportunity to discuss the challenges ahead for both U.S. and Mexican suppliers of fresh tomatoes related to the changing agreement,” Melinda Goodman, managing partner of Full Tilt Marketing and chairwoman of the Viva Fresh Education Committee, said in the release. “Currently 60% of the fresh U.S. tomato supply comes from imported products and any significant change will be disruptive for the entire supply chain. It’s important to help everyone better understand the issue.” 

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