Florida Tomato Exchange seeks continuation of investigation

The Florida Tomato Exchange on Monday called for the International Trade Commission to continue an investigation into imports of fresh tomatoes from Mexico.

The exchange noted that the investigation was suspended on September 19 when a new suspension agreement between the Commerce Department and Mexican growers and exporters went into effect, but that the Mexican tomato industry does not agree and has signaled its intention to challenge the agreement legally and politically, even though they signed the agreement last month.

The situation could also complicate the Trump administration’s efforts to assembled votes in Congress to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement on trade. Southeastern growers pressed the Trump administration to include provisions against surges of imports and other fruits and vegetables, but the agreement does not include that.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has acknowledged that House members from the Southeast are reluctant to support the agreement because it does not address the surges, but has urged them to vote for it anyway because it helps other agricultural sectors.

The member companies of the Florida Tomato Exchange produce more than 90% of the tomatoes grown in the state, and are among the largest producers of tomatoes in California, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, and Puerto Rico.

–The Hagstrom Report