Members of the Arizona Legislature are sending a letter to Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross, speaking out about the importance of negotiating an updated Tomato Suspension Agreement.
The letter, from the Arizona House Committee on State and International Affairs, implores Sec. Ross to sign an updated agreement. The letter notes that: "We are concerned to see efforts from certain regional interests to disrupt the normal negotiation process between the Department of Commerce and the Mexican growers, a process that has happened regularly since 1996. By not renegotiating an agreement that has worked for 20 years to stabilize tomato markets, this Committee fears we would be erecting new trade barriers in fruits and vegetables that will directly harm Arizona businesses and consumers across the United States."
The letter comes after Jimmy Munguia, Tomato Division Chairman of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas (FPAA), testified on behalf of the FPAA on Wednesday, March 27. Munguia spoke out about the recent announcement from the Department of Commerce to terminate a 22-year-old Tomato Suspension Agreement between Commerce and tomato growers in Mexico. The announcement brought several concerns to U.S. distributors across Arizona. FPAA says the pact has created jobs and thriving businesses around the importation of high quality tomatoes. Munguia stated that this could mean higher prices for consumers and a loss of jobs in Arizona and across the United States. It could also impact over 33,000 U.S. workers and 1.4 million workers in Mexico, according to the FPAA, adding that it could cause a complete disruption of the North America supply chain and an escalating trade war that threatens passage of USMCA.
Garrick Taylor from the Border Trade Alliance also presented in favor of maintaining the Tomato Suspension Agreement at the hearing, FPAA noted.
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