The associations representing Mexican tomato growers are pleased to announce that today the three Mexican grower respondents submitted data in the renewed antidumping investigation that confirms they are not dumping in the US market.
Their calculations demonstrate that the dumping margins for all three growers amount to zero based on the programs used by the Commerce Department and the regulations in place in 1996, when this case was originally filed by the Florida Tomato Exchange and which is what the Commerce Department previously announced it will be using. While the Commerce Department, of course, has the next word in this process, the Mexican growers are confident that the Department's review will result in a similar finding. The growers are hoping that Commerce ignores continuing pressure from Florida politicians, who have consistently demanded that Commerce pre-judge this case.
For the past 23 years, this dispute has been settled under the terms of the Tomato Suspension Agreement, which has set a minimum price for Mexican tomatoes sold in the US market. Those prices have been updated and increased over the years, including by more than 100 percent in 2013. The Commerce Department terminated that agreement in May based on demands made by four Florida-based tomato companies.
Once the agreement was officially terminated, the Commerce Department announced that it would disregard the original respondents and their data, as well as the preliminary results reached in the original preliminary determination, and would instead conduct an entirely new and complete investigation in 135 days instead of the almost one-year period US law contemplates, which is an unprecedented short time frame. Nevertheless, the Mexican grower respondents labored under intense pressure and filed their information on time, as requested by the Department.
The Mexican growers have said for more than 18 months that they are willing to negotiate a new suspension agreement if both the agreement and the process leading to it are fair. Those negotiations have stalled due to a number of unreasonable demands advocated by the Florida tomato growers, who have insisted among other things that the US Government stop every truck carrying Mexican tomatoes, a perishable product, at the US border for up to 72 hours for an inspection based on no evidence and no underlying legal authority in violation of NAFTA, the USMCA and the rules of the World Trade Organization.
"As we have said many times, we are in favor of a new suspension agreement but it must be fair. Stopping all truckloads of perishable fruit at the border is not fair and is not legal," said Rosario Beltran, President of the grower association CAADES. "We also expect a fair regulatory process and antidumping analysis. If not, we will go to the International Trade Commission to win this case or go to the courts if we have to. We hope reason ultimately prevails and we can have a meaningful negotiation moving ahead."
CAADES was joined in this statement by AMHPAC, the largest grower association, along with Asociación de Productores de Hortalizas del Yaqui y Mayo and Sistema Producto Tomate.