U.S. Reaches Deal With Mexico to Drop Tariffs on Tomatoes

The U.S. government and Mexican growers agreed to new rules for trade in tomatoes that will suspend tariffs imposed since May and implement import rules demanded by Florida growers to protect their industry.The deal was reached at midnight on Tuesday in Washington, according to a statement, which lawyers had agreed was the final opportunity to stop the probe and allow for 30 days of public comment.The pact includes quality inspections of 92% of Mexican tomato trucks at the border, the nation's growers said. American growers had demanded that all tomatoes be reviewed, which Mexico argued was logistically impossible. It lifts a 17.6% provisional tariff, which went into effect in May, and allows Mexican producers to get back money that had already been deposited.Making the duties permanent threatened to hit the Mexican agriculture industry as well as American supermarkets and restaurants. Florida growers said Mexico, the world's largest tomato exporter, has been unfairly undercutting American farmers on price, hurting the state's agriculture. Mexico denied that its farmers are dumping."For many years, there have been disputes over the roughly $2 billion worth of tomatoes that are imported from Mexico annually," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement. "This draft agreement meets the needs of both sides and avoids the need for antidumping duties."The Commerce Department said the agreement will benefit tomato producers in Texas, Florida, Arizona and other states.Eric Martin, Bloomberg, and The Dallas Morning News  Continue reading...

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