Mexico to Avert Tomato Tariff With Minimum-Price Deal

WASHINGTON (CN) — U.S. trade officials announced a tentative deal with Mexican growers Tuesday night that will head off implementation of a 25% tariff on tomato crops.

The United States imports nearly $2 billion in tomatoes from Mexico annually, but officials here have been investigating whether price suppression has kept the produce below market value.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the minimum-price deal reached late Tuesday “meets the needs of both sides and avoids the need for antidumping duties.”

If signed by Sept. 19, the deal bring an end to the probe launched by the Trump administration in May at the request of the Florida Tomato Exchange

Mexican Economy Minister Graciela Marquez tweeted in Spanish Tuesday night that the deal is “good news,” saying “it will keep the market open for Mexico’s tomato exports to the United States.”

Likewise, the Department of Commerce said in its statement that minimum prices are a boon to growers “across America, including those in Florida, Texas, and Arizona.”

Conditions of the deal include giving the U.S. the ability to inspect most Mexican tomato imports at the border and subjecting organic tomatoes from Mexico to a 40% higher price minimum than non-organic tomatoes.

The Mexican government estimates the country has around 1.5 million tomato producers, up to 80 of whom could be audited by the U.S. Commerce Department each quarter under the new deal.

Officials from the Florida Tomato Exchange did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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