On February 6, 2019, the Department of Commerce notified the Mexican signatories to the 2013 Suspension Agreement on Fresh Tomatoes from Mexico that the Department intends to withdraw from the Agreement, consistent with Section VI.B. Section VI.B of the Agreement states that “[t]he signatories or the Department may withdraw from this Agreement upon ninety days written notice to the other party.” With the written notification, Commerce intends to withdraw from the Agreement on May 7, 2019.
“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,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The Trump Administration will continue to use every tool in our toolbox to ensure trade is free, fair, and reciprocal.”
Upon completion of the withdrawal, the Department of Commerce will continue with its investigation and notify the International Trade Commission (ITC) of its final determination. If the Department 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.
The Department opened negotiations with the Mexican signatories in January 2018. Despite committed efforts from all sides, significant outstanding issues remained with respect to crafting a revised agreement that would be acceptable to the Mexican signatories and address the concerns of the U.S. domestic industry to the extent possible under U.S. trade law. In November 2018, the Florida Tomato Exchange (FTE) requested Commerce end the Agreement and resume the antidumping investigation of fresh tomatoes from Mexico. Commerce finds at this stage that it is appropriate to notify the Mexican signatories of our intent to withdraw, terminate the Agreement, and resume the investigation.