Mexico to meet with the US this week to discuss the tomato agreement

The secretary of the Economy, Graciela Marquez, and the Secretary of Commerce of the United States, Wilbur Ross, will hold a meeting in the framework of CEO Dialogue, to discuss the subject of the tomato suspension agreement, which expires on May 7, among other topics, the Mexican official revealed on Tuesday.

"I have asked to have a bilateral meeting with Secretary Ross within that meeting, but we are going to have it somewhere else. We have asked for a bilateral meeting with the secretary to discuss the tomato issue," said Graciela Marquez during a press conference in Mexico City.

The secretary said that in the framework of the meeting, which will take place on April 11 and 12, they would also discuss other topics of interest to both countries.

Regarding the advances in the negotiations of the tomato suspension agreement, representatives of the sector in Mexico said that, last week, they had made a proposal to their US counterparts where they caved in some aspects.

"Last week we presented an improved proposal that basically covers all the proposals made by Florida producers to the Department of Commerce, except those that can not be negotiated because they are outside the law. This proposal that we presented is a viable proposal, as it offers unprecedented protection to the producers of that country. However, it was not taken into consideration by the Department of Commerce, which sent us the same proposal of October 2018 that we had already rejected," said Mario Robles, the director of the Center for Agricultural Associations of the State of Sinaloa and representative of the farmers in the negotiations.

According to Robles, one of the aspects in which they caved in the proposal is the homologation of the tomato's summer price in all seasons, which is 15 to 20 percent lower than the winter price.

Despite the US agency's denial, some US organizations, such as the Florida Tomato Committee, have reported being satisfied with the proposal made a few days ago.

However, despite the efforts undertaken to solve the suspension agreement as soon as possible, Mexicans are already in a compensatory payment zone, which means that they will have to pay 17.5 percent in tariffs when exporting tomato to the US.

This is because, once they reach an agreement, the US government establishes a 30-day deadline for US organizations and civil society to comment on the agreement reached. Since the agreement expires on May 7, even if the Mexicans reached an agreement tomorrow, they would have to pay the fee for a couple of days.


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