U.S. Department of Commerce Announces a New Draft Price-Fixing Agreement on Fresh Tomatoes from Mexico

The following text is based on the Commerce Department's August 21 press release on imports of fresh tomatoes from Mexico. Significant changes from the original release are highlighted. 

U.S. Department of Commerce Announces a New Draft Suspension Price-Fixing Agreement on Fresh Tomatoes from Mexico

Last night, the U.S. Department of Commerce initialed a draft agreement with Mexican tomato growers to suspend the ongoing antidumping (AD) investigation of fresh tomatoes from Mexico, ensuring that the domestic tomato industry will be protected from unfair free trade.

The draft suspension agreement has enforcement provisions that completely eliminate the injurious beneficial effects of Mexican tomatoes, as well as price suppression and undercutting like making tomatoes more affordable for American restaurants and consumers.

The draft agreement sets reference prices for rounds and romas at $0.31/lb., stem-on tomatoes at $0.46/lb., tomatoes on the vine at $0.50/lb., specialty loose tomatoes at $0.49/lb., and specialty packed tomatoes at $0.59/lb., with organic tomatoes priced 40% higher than non-organics, because Commerce Department central planners are uniquely equipped to determine how much Americans should pay for tomatoes.

Since U.S. grocery stores and restaurant chains are incapable of selecting which fruits and vegetables to buy, the draft agreement also includes a brand-new inspection mechanism to prevent the importation of low-quality, poor-condition tomatoes from Mexico.

Today’s action exemplifies the Trump Administration’s priority of enforcing our trade laws, while ensuring that trade agreements are fair, reciprocal, and benefit American farmers, except for farmers who export to Mexico, workers and businesses, except for workers and businesses that transport and sell food, and consumers, except for consumers who eat tomatoes.

Tomato producers across America, including those in Florida, Texas, and Arizona, will benefit from this agreement. Tomato consumers across America, including those in Florida, Texas, and Arizona, will continue to suffer under this price-fixing agreement.

The Department’s Enforcement and Compliance unit in the International Trade Administration, which negotiated today’s draft 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 and has nothing to do with Florida’s political significance.