Tomato Suspension Agreement Update

May 2024 FloridAgriculture e-Newsletter

On April 18th, 2024, the U.S. Court of International Trade remanded a 2019 decision to the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), which determined Mexican tomatoes were being dumped in the U.S. market. This decision came as a result of a court case filed by a large Mexican tomato exporter.

The TSA was reached in 1996 by the DOC and signatory producers/exporters of fresh tomatoes grown in Mexico to stop the unfair trade practices of Mexican tomato exporters. An investigation conducted by DOC concluded that Mexican tomatoes are being dumped at an average rate of 20.91%. In response to this, the 2019 TSA was established to close the loopholes of the previous suspension agreements, in exchange for suspension of anti-dumping duties against Mexican exporters. However, since the 2019 TSA became effective, the DOC has documented over 100 cases of Mexican companies that are still in violation of this binding, legal agreement. Furthermore, during the 28 years under this agreement, Mexican tomato imports have increased nearly 400 percent, allowing Mexico to dominate the U.S. tomato industry by controlling over 65 percent of the market.

Florida Farm Bureau Federation is dedicated to advocating for the domestic fresh tomato industry and for the termination of the 2019 TSA.

“Application and effective enforcement of the current trade remedy laws, that are feasible for U.S. producers, is the first step toward the development of much need comprehensive policies,” stated Florida Farm Bureau President, Jeb Smith.

It is important to note that this decision will have no effect on the 2019 iteration of the TSA, as it solely determined the DOC should have used a different timeframe to evaluate dumping levels. We can expect the DOC to re-conduct its 2019 dumping investigation by using data from the original 1996 dumping case, rather than the most recent data.

For further information or questions, please contact Florida Farm Bureau’s Ag Policy Department.