Mexican tomato growers have signed a deal to raise the prices of the tomatoes they sell in the U.S. market. That ends a threat from Washington, D.C., to slap a 25-percent anti-dumping tariff on tomato imports. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says the deal will protect U.S. growers from unfair trade practices. However, not all domestic importers were happy with the final agreement. They say the pact doesn’t include border inspection waivers for individual shipments if USDA can’t complete an inspection within a day.
Lance Jungmeyer is president of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, who says the tomato deal is a step backward. “USDA has assured us the inspections can be done within 24 hours,” he says. “If that’s really the case, then there shouldn’t be a problem including language for a waiver if a deadline can’t be met occasionally.” The new deal will likely end the 17.5 percent duty that importers have paid since early May on Mexican tomato imports. The agreement also suspends the dumping investigation of Mexican tomatoes into the U.S.