Commission says Mexican Tomato Imports Threaten Domestic Production

The U.S. International Trade Commission ruled Friday that Mexican tomato imports threaten local production. That decision comes after the U.S. Commerce Department had already determined that Mexican tomatoes were likely to be sold at an unfairly low price as they were dumped into the U.S. market. The Florida Tomato Exchange asked for a dumping investigation shortly after the U.S. and Mexico signed a new trade deal. The Florida group says the ITC’s decision gives credibility to its long-standing concerns about Mexican imports. The Mexican-based Fresh Produce Association of the Americas says it is disappointed in the decision, saying that rising Mexican imports simply reflects growing demand by U.S. consumers for Mexico’s produce. Mexican officials say, “Consumers prefer vine-ripened tomatoes, and this is why (U.S.) domestic gassed-green tomatoes continue to lose market share in the U.S.” The ITC ruling means that the recently negotiated tomato suspension agreement is still in effect. The deal will bring much-heavier inspection requirements for tomatoes entering the U.S. If the deal is ended for any reason, the U.S. will then impose a 21-percent duty on Mexican tomatoes, which account for nearly half the tomatoes sold in the U.S.