Florida’s tomato growers have filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Court of International Trade, challenging whether the Commerce Department’s recent suspension agreement with Mexican tomato companies in an antidumping case complies with federal laws designed to ensure fair trade on imported goods.
“Farming is one of America’s most important industries, and most enduring ways of life,” said Reggie Brown, Executive Vice President of the Florida Tomato Exchange. “Tomato farmers in Florida and across America can compete favorably in a market that is both free and fair.”
Federal trade laws provide a remedy for “dumping” – selling imported goods into the U.S. market at a price below the home market price or the full cost of production where a domestic industry is harmed as a result. The case filed by Florida tomato farmers challenges the failure of the Commerce Department to ascertain the cost of tomato production in Mexico at the present time to ensure that Mexican tomatoes are not being dumped into the American market below the cost of production.
“Since day one, we have simply been seeking to have any suspension agreement negotiated by the Commerce Department with the Mexican exporters comply with the very specific provisions of U.S. law. We don’t believe that the recently concluded suspension agreement does,” said Brown. “Our only recourse is to place the question of whether the agreement meets the requirements of the law before the U.S. Court of International Trade.”