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DOC Moves Towards Ending Mexico Tomato Trade Agreement

WASHINGTON — On Thursday the Department of Commerce announced that it made a preliminary decision to terminate its trade agreement with Mexican tomato growers.

This agreement goes back 16 years. After suspending an antidumping investigation of the Mexican growers in 1996, the U.S. entered into a “suspension agreement” that set a base price for tomatoes sold in the U.S. If the DOC goes forward with terminating the antidumping investigation, the suspension agreement will also be terminated.

This preliminary decision is the result of a Changed Circumstances Review by the DOC, prompted by a request from U.S. tomato growers in June. When making the request, the Florida Tomato Exchanged claimed that underpriced Mexican tomatoes flood the market.

Mexican growers have said that the U.S. growers are resorting to pitting the U.S. versus Mexico because they cannot compete in the marketplace.

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If the U.S. goes forward with terminating the suspension agreement, it could potentially harm trade relations with  Mexico.

"The Economy Department expresses its deep concern over the negative impact this preliminary decision could have on our bilateral trade relationship," Mexico’s Economy Department said on Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

The DOC is currently accepting comments on its preliminary decision.

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