Proposed pact would squash U.S.-Mexico tomato war
WASHINGTON — A proposed agreement on fresh tomatoes imported from Mexico would strengthen anti-dumping enforcement and reset minimum wholesale prices, the Commerce Department said.
The agreement with Mexico's tomato industry would suspend an investigation initiated because Florida tomato growers complained that Mexican producers were selling fresh tomatoes for less than the production cost.
The proposal would replace a pact that's been in place for 16 years. The Commerce Department on Saturday released a draft of the agreement for public comment.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says it would allow the U.S. tomato industry “to compete on a level playing field.”
U.S. tomato growers are tentatively backing the proposal.
Edward Beckman, president of Certified Greenhouse Farmers, said the new agreement must address pricing, coverage and enforcement of trade laws.
“We believe that the Department of Commerce and Mexico have struck a deal that meets those three tests, and we're hopeful and optimistic that we'll be able to compete under fair trade conditions,” Beckman said in a statement released on Sunday. “Much work remains to have the agreement fully and faithfully implemented, and continuous monitoring and enforcement will be critical.
Florida produces much of the nation's winter tomato supply, and growers were asking the Commerce Department to end the fresh tomato importation trade agreement.
The growers claimed their Mexican counterparts have been “dumping” — selling for less than the cost of production — their product in the United States, driving down prices and costing jobs. The growers' complaint had the support of farmworker representatives.
The impact of the agreement on consumers was unknown, but an Arizona-based trade association, which sponsored a pricing study, warned that if Mexican tomatoes withdrew from the U.S. market, the prices for some hothouse tomatoes would double from $2.50 a pound to nearly $5.
Mexico's economic secretary commended his country's tomato growers on the proposed settlement in a tweet on Sunday.
“Congratulations to Mexican tomato producers for the agreement reached and the suspension of the U.S. government antidumping investigation,” Mexican Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo tweeted.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Los Angeles police kill man in struggle captured on video
- Natural gas royalties lawsuit hinges on transaction date
- Lawmakers press Veterans Affairs for improved access to rural health care
- 2 W.Va. coal operators sentenced in scheme
- Cold, snow break February records in Northeast
- GOP senators pledge help if court bars health care law subsidies
- Supreme Court’s health care law ruling worries 34 states
- No signs of deal on Homeland funding
- Deadly bacteria release spurs concern at Louisiana lab
- Astronauts complete extensive cable job in spacewalks
- White House won’t snub pro-Israel lobby