Two lawmakers from the U.S. have written to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross urging him to end a tomato trade agreement with Mexico they say has led to unfair competition that has increasingly put U.S. growers out of business.
Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Ted Yoho, both of Florida – the biggest tomato-producing state – last week wrote to Ross with bipartisan support from 46 Senate and House Congresspeople from across the country asking him to end the suspension agreement with Mexican tomato exporters.
They say that ending the current deal would restart a U.S. antidumping investigation on fresh tomatoes from Mexico while giving theDepartment of Commerce more leverage to try to secure a new suspension agreement that is “both effective and enforceable”.
“Fairly traded imports can and do enrich Americans’ lives, but unfair trade practices can eviscerate the jobs and production that define dignified livelihoods and sustain our communities,” Rubio said.
“The U.S. tomato industry has been the canary in the coal mine for domestic fruit and vegetable production over the last three decades.
“Immediately terminating the suspension agreement will reinvigorate the antidumping investigation on fresh tomatoes from Mexico and send the message that the U.S. will ensure vigilant enforcement of our existing trade laws and trade agreements.”
Yoho said that the current suspension agreement places U.S. tomato farmers at an unfair disadvantage.
“The current dumping of produce by the Mexican government harms our tomato farmers and goes against existing trade protections,” he said.
“It is only prudent that the Department of Commerce terminates the suspension agreement immediately and renegotiates more favorable terms for US producers. ”