Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce finalized an agreement with Mexican tomato growers to suspend the ongoing antidumping duty (AD) investigation of fresh tomatoes from Mexico, halting the process for imposing antidumping duties on tomatoes from Mexico. “Today’s successful outcome validates the Administration’s strong and smart approach to negotiating trade deals,” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said. “The Department’s action brought the Mexican growers to the negotiating table and led to a result that protects U.S. tomato producers from unfair trade. It also removes major uncertainties for the Mexican growers and their workers.”
The suspension agreement completely eliminates the injurious effects of unfairly priced Mexican tomatoes, prevents price suppression and undercutting, and eliminates substantially all dumping, while allowing Commerce to audit up to 80 Mexican tomato producers and U.S. sellers per quarter, or more with good cause. In addition, the agreement also closes loopholes from past suspension agreements that permitted sales below the reference prices in certain circumstances, and includes an inspection mechanism to prevent the importation of low-quality, poor-condition tomatoes from Mexico, which can have price-suppressive effects on the market.
Today’s action stems from a November 14, 2018 request from the Florida Tomato Exchange that Commerce terminate the 2013 Suspension Agreement on Fresh Tomatoes from Mexico. On February 6, 2019, Commerce notified the Mexican signatories that it would withdraw from the 2013 Suspension Agreement. On May 7, 2019, the 2013 Suspension Agreement was terminated and, as a result, Commerce continued its AD investigation on imports of fresh tomatoes from Mexico.
Today’s action exemplifies the Trump Administration’s priority of enforcing U.S. trade laws, while ensuring that trade agreements are fair, reciprocal, and benefit American farmers, workers, businesses, and consumers. Tomato producers across America, including those in Florida, Texas, and Arizona, will benefit from this agreement.
Commerce’s Enforcement and Compliance unit within the International Trade Administration, which negotiated today’s suspension agreement, is responsible for vigorously enforcing U.S. trade law and does so through an impartial, transparent process that abides by international rules and is based on factual evidence provided on the record.