U.S. Department of Commerce Slices Tomato Suspension Agreement

The U.S. Department of Commerce has announced the termination of the 2013 Suspension Agreement on fresh tomatoes imported from Mexico and that negotiations will continue regarding a possible revised agreement acceptable to the Mexican signatories, which also addresses the concerns of the U.S. industry to the extent permissible by U.S. trade law. 

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Termination of the agreement will result in the continuation of the suspended investigation. Commerce will continue with its investigation and notify the International Trade Commission (ITC) of its final determination. If Commerce continues to find sales made at less than fair value in its final determination, the ITC will then complete its own investigation and make a final determination with respect to injury. If both Commerce and the ITC issue affirmative final determinations, an antidumping duty order will be issued.

In a prepared statement, Michael Schadler, Executive Vice President of the Florida Tomato Exchange, noted: “We are pleased that the Commerce Department has terminated the tomato suspension agreement, which presided over a very difficult five-year period for the U.S. tomato industry. Although the agreement was created with good intentions, it was never effective in protecting American producers from dumped Mexican tomatoes. As a result, the U.S. industry has declined significantly over the last five years with many tomato growers across the country going out of business.”

“The Department of Commerce remains committed to ensuring that American domestic industries are protected from unfair trading practices,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “We remain optimistic that there will be a negotiated solution.”