August 21, 2019

US, Mexico reach agreement in tomato trade dispute

According to Reuters, Mexican tomato producers have reached a deal with the U.S. government to avoid an anti-dumping investigation, Mexican Economy Minister Graciela Marquez said Wednesday. The agreement ends a testy tariff dispute that had rumbled on for months.

Under the deal, the vast majority of Mexican tomato exports will be subject to border inspections. Still, the accord provides a measure of relief to Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in his dealings with the Trump administration.

In May, the U.S. Commerce Department imposed a 17.5% tariff on Mexican tomatoes after the two sides failed to renew an earlier agreement that halted a U.S. anti-dumping probe. Since then, the two sides have held negotiations in search of a deal.

Calling the outcome of talks “good news” that kept the U.S. market open for tomato exporters, Marquez said on Twitter that the accord between the U.S. Commerce Department and Mexican producers had been reached shortly before midnight Aug. 20.

For more on this developing story, visit here.

United Fresh weighs in

United Fresh Produce Association Communications Manager Ben Massoud issued the following statement shortly after the agreement was announced.

Early this morning, United Fresh learned that the Mexican tomato industry and the United States Department of Commerce have come to an agreement on a new tomato suspension agreement that would suspend the anti-dumping investigation which was reactivated on May 7, 2019. This will now start a 30-day public comment period with a new agreement entering into force on Sept. 19, 2019, suspending the final determination of Department of Commerce and allow importers to be reimbursed of cash deposits made since May 7.

“The details of the agreement have yet to be announced, but United Fresh would like to congratulate all of those involved to resolve this matter to bring stabilization back to the tomato marketplace. This will be beneficial for the entire distribution chain, most importantly growers and consumers.”