( Photo courtesy Tom Hermans )

The Commerce Department’s decision in May to withdraw an agreement suspending an anti-dumping investigation on Mexican tomatoes entering
the U.S. set off a contentious debate on imported tomatoes in 2019.

In the end, the U.S. International Trade Commission sided with the Commerce Department and U.S. tomato growers.

Nov. 22
Trade commission sides with U.S. tomato growers
By Tom Karst

In a decision that will keep in place the tomato suspension agreement between Mexican growers and the Department of Commerce, the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that Mexican tomatoes sold at less than “fair value” threaten the domestic industry. 

The ITC on Nov. 22 determined that the U.S. tomato industry is threatened by imports of fresh tomatoes from Mexico, agreeing with the Commerce Department that they are sold in the U.S. at less than fair value, according to a news release from the commission.

As a result of the trade commission’s decision, the suspension agreement Commerce signed with Mexican tomato growers remains in effect. 

Oct. 22
Commerce resumes investigation into tomato imports
By Chris Koger

The Department of Commerce, acting on a request by U.S. tomato growers, is continuing its investigation into the dumping of Mexican tomatoes into the U.S.

The department also issued a decision to set a dumping margin of 21% in the resumed investigation, according to the Florida Tomato Exchange.

The Sept. 19 agreement remains “in force” pending a decision by the International Trade Commission and no antidumping duties will be imposed by the Commerce Department Oct. 21 decision.

Sept. 19
New tomato suspension agreement signed
By Tom Karst

With tweaks finalized Sept. 17 by the Commerce Department, representatives of Mexican tomato growers signed a new suspension agreement. 

It will end the 17.56% duty on Mexican tomatoes and replace it with minimum reference prices for imports of Mexican tomatoes.

Aug. 21
Commerce, Mexican growers strike deal
By Tom Kast

Mexican tomato growers and the U.S. Commerce Department struck a deal for a new tomato suspension agreement late Aug. 20.

The five-year agreement enters a public comment period and goes into effect Sept. 19.

Mexican growers released a statement indicating a deal was reached “minutes before midnight” on Aug. 20 to suspend the anti-dumping investigation that was reactivated May 7 this year after the Commerce Department pulled out of the 2013 agreement in response to complaints from domestic growers.

July 29
Commerce sets preliminary dumping margin of 25%
By Chris Koger

The Department of Commerce has announced a preliminary dumping margin of 25.28% on Mexican tomato imports following its investigation whether tomatoes from Mexico are being dumped into the U.S.

That determination is preliminary, and could fluctuate before Commerce announces its final decision Sept. 19. 

May 7
Mexican tomato agreement done, duties kick in
By Tom Karst

The Department of Commerce has terminated the 2013 Suspension Agreement on Fresh Tomatoes from Mexico, setting a 17.56% duty on Mexican tomatoes arriving in the U.S.

Negotiations will continue on a revised agreement, according to a Commerce Department news release.

Feb. 7
U.S. plans withdrawal from tomato suspension agreement
By Tom Karst

The U.S. plans to withdraw from the 2013 Suspension Agreement on Fresh Tomatoes from Mexico, a move that allows authorities to investigate allegations that product is being dumped into the U.S. market.

“We have heard the concerns of the American tomato producing industry and are taking action today to ensure they are protected from unfair trading practices,” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a news release.