Florida Leaders Applaud Suspending Agreement With Mexico on Importing Tomatoes
By Kevin Derby – Sunshine State News // May 9, 2019
(SUNSHINE STATE NEWS) – This week, the U.S. Commerce Department announced it was suspending an agreement with Mexico on importing fresh tomatoes, garnering applause across the Sunshine State.
As the Commerce Department continues to negotiate with Mexico, U.S. Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross insisted the agreement, which had been in place since 2013, was not fair to American agriculture.
“The Department of Commerce remains committed to ensuring that American domestic industries are protected from unfair trading practices,” said Ross on Tuesday when the Commerce Department made the announcement. “We remain optimistic that there will be a negotiated solution.”
Michael Schadler, the executive vice president of the Florida Tomato Exchange, weighed in on Wednesday.
“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,” Schadler insisted.
“Negotiations for a new suspension agreement can still continue even as the antidumping investigation is resumed this month,” he added. “The U.S. tomato industry remains open to a new suspension agreement so long as it is structured in a way that eliminates the loopholes of the previous agreement and has strong enforcement mechanisms. If a new agreement cannot be reached, we look forward to the antidumping investigation finally running its full course.”
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