Florida Tomato Exchange asks Commerce Department to reopen antidumping investigation

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On Monday, the Florida Tomato Exchange requested for continuation of the antidumping investigation of fresh tomatoes from Mexico. This is surprising as the investigation was suspended on September 19, 2019, when a new suspension agreement between the Department of Commerce and Mexican growers and exporters went into effect.
The reason for the reopening of the investigation is that the Mexican tomato industry doesn’t agree with the agreement, even though they voluntarily signed the agreement last month.
While the investigation may be reopened, the suspension agreement is not automatically terminated. Once the new investigation is completed, Commerce and the International Trade Commission is tasked to determine whether or not Mexican tomatoes were dumped into the US and whether it caused injury to the US tomato industry. If there is a finding of injury, then the agreement will stay in place – if there is no finding, the agreement will be terminated.
If there is an affirmative finding, the Mexican growers have the option to withdrawal from the agreement, triggering another 90-day time frame to renegotiate before antidumping duties are imposed.
If you have any questions about this or any other antidumping and countervailing duty action, contact trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

US and Mexico reach deal to end tomato dispute.

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According to Reuters, Mexican tomato growers and the Trump administration reached a deal to end a potential anti-dumping investigation and end a tariff dispute. The agreement means many Mexican tomato exports will be subject to U.S. border inspections, and specialty tomatoes face higher reference prices on the American marketplace.

The negotiations began back in May when the Trump administration imposed a 17.5% tariff on Mexican tomatoes after the parties did not reach an agreement.

The Commerce Department said the new deal will ensure sales do not fall below certain prices for Mexican tomatoes and allows a mechanism to audit up to 80 Mexican tomato producers per quarter, or more.

If you have any questions how the tomato deal may impact your business – contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at dh@gjatradelaw.com or attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Commerce Department finds dumping of refillable stainless steel kegs from Mexico.

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Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued an affirmative final determination in the antidumping (AD) investigation of imports of refillable stainless steel kegs from Mexico.

Here’s a summary:

  1. Commerce found that exporters from Mexico have been selling refillable stainless steel kegs at less than fair value in the United States at a rate of 18.48 percent.
  2. After today, Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to continue to collect cash deposits equal to the applicable final weighted-average dumping rate.
  3. Last year, imports of refillable stainless steel kegs from Mexico were valued at an estimated $13.4 million.
  4. The US manufacturer is the American Keg Company, LLC located in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.

So far into Trump’s administration, the Commerce Department has initiated 179 new antidumping/countervailing duty investigations – a 231% increase from the same time during the Obama administration.

The full text of the affirmative determination can be found at the following link:

https://enforcement.trade.gov/download/factsheets/factsheet-mexico-refillable-stainless-steel-kegs-ad-final-081319.pdf

If you have any questions how this new AD determination will impact your business or would like to discuss ways to reduce your AD/CVD duties, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at dh@gjatradelaw.com, attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Senator Rubio comments on the investigation of tomatoes from Mexico.

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U.S. Senator Marco Rubio issued a statement today about the ongoing antidumping investigation on fresh tomatoes from Mexico (Inv. No. 731-TA-747).

Senator Rubio said that “U.S. tomato growers should not have to lose their livelihoods due to a deal imposed on them by their own government”, adding that the loss of livelihood happened under the previous agreement.

Also stating: “The fact remains that the Mexicans have avoided serious negotiations for well over a year, preferring to use scare tactics and inflammatory rhetoric to try to force President Trump and Secretary Ross to back down on their commitment to ensure that American tomato growers are able to fairly compete in our own domestic market.”

Key upcoming dates in this investigation:

09/03/2019: Prehearing Report
09/10/2019: Prehearing Briefs
09/19/2019 9:30 am: Hearing
09/26/2019: Posthearing Briefs
10/10/2019: Report to the Commission
10/17/2019: Record Closing
10/21/2019: Final Comments
10/23/2019: Proposed Vote
11/04/2019: Determination(s) Issued
11/04/2019: View(s) Issued
11/04/2019: End

If you have any questions about how this investigation will impact you, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

019: Report to the Commission
10/17/2019: Record Closing
10/21/2019: Final Comments
10/23/2019: Proposed Vote
11/04/2019: Determination(s) Issued
11/04/2019: View(s) Issued
11/04/2019: End

If you have any questions about how this investigation will impact you, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

14 House Democrats ask Nancy Pelosi to bring vote on USMCA.

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A group of 14 House Democrats sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asking her to to bring a vote by the end of the year on USMCA, the renegotiated trade with Canada and Mexico to replace NAFTA.

The letter to Speaker Pelosi reads:

“It is imperative that we reach a negotiated agreement early in the fall. Canada and Mexico are by far our most important trading partners, and we need to restore certainty in these critical relationships that support millions of American jobs.”

The 14 House Democrats:

Colin Allred (D-Texas)
Scott Peters (D-Calif.)
Kendra Horn (D-Okla.)
Haley Stevens (D-Mich.)
Anthony Brindisi (D-NY)
Joe Cunningham (D-SC)
Lizzie Fletcher (D-Texas)
Ben McAdams (D-UT)
Josh Harder (D-Calif.)
J. Luis Correa (D-Calif.)
Sharice L. Davids (D-Kansas)
TJ Cox (D-Calif.)
Susie Lee (D-Nevada)
Greg Stanton (D-Arizona)

If you have questions how the new USMCA will impact your business, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at dh@gjatradelaw.com, attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Trump rallies in Wisconsin for USCMA support.

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According to the Associated Press, President Donald Trump had a rally in Wisconsin to promote his trade deal with Mexico and Canada, known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Trump was the first Republican to win Wisconsin since Ronald Reagan in 1984 and recent polling indicates Wisconsin is another battleground state in 2020.

Wisonsin exports $31 million worth of goods to Canada and $15.2 million worth of goods to Mexico; importing $15.5 million in goods from Canada and $9.3 million in goods from Mexico.

The USMCA will likely be ratified in Mexico and Canada, but Congress has not yet supported ratification. Democrat Congress members want strong labor and environmental protections. The AP article said a vote was likely to be held in September at the earliest.

If you have any questions how the new USMCA will impact  your business, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dh@gjatradelaw.com, attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

US Mexico tomato dispute – US demands 100% review of all tomatoes within 72 hours of shipment.

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According to publimetro.com.mx, the Secretary of Economy of Mexico, Graciela Marquez claims the US is inflexible in their demand to review 100% of tomato shipments at the border within 72 hours. The Mexican Government claims the US does not have enough man power to process the tomatoes.

The current tomato dispute stems began in 1996, when tomato growers in Florida initiated antidumping investigations against Mexican tomato exports. A deal was reached in November 1996 between Mexican growers and the Department of Commerce that led to the suspending of the investigation. The suspension was renewed in 2002, 2008 and 2013. However, earlier this year, Florida tomato growers complained the Mexican growers were violating their end of the deal. Since May of 2019, Mexican tomato exporters have had to pay a countervailing duty rate of 17.5% before the tomatoes can be exported into the United States.

The final determination will be issued on September 19, 2019 followed by a final determination regarding the damages to the industry due on November 1, 2019.

Mexico is the world’s largest tomato exporter in 2018, with external sales of $2.3 billion dollars of which 99.7% of its exports are to the US.

US to impose tariffs of up to 74% on fabricated structural steel from Mexico.

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According to Mexico News Daily, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced the results of a countervailing duty investigation found that Mexican steel exporters were subsidized by their government at rates from 0.01% to 74.01%. Besides Mexico, investigations of steel imports from China found subsidy rates of 30% to 177%. The investigation was brought by the Chicago-based American Institute of Steel Construction.

Separate investigations considered steel imports from Canada and China, and tariffs ranging from 30% to 177% will be imposed on product shipped to the United States by companies in the latter country. In Canada’s case, steel exporters were found to be receiving subsidies of less than 0.5% and no tariffs will be imposed. Imports of fabricated structural steel from Mexico totaled $622.4 milion last year.

In order to maintain competitiveness with foreign producers, the countervailing duty (CVD) rate is assesed against importers at a rate equal to the subsidy rate. One notable company subject to investigation and a 74.01% tariff is Swecomex, a subsidiary of Grupo Carso, which is owned by billionaire businessmen Carlos Slim, and Preacero Pellizzari Mexico.

The final determinations of its countervailing duty investigations will be announced on or about November 19th.

If you have any questions how these duties will impact your business, contact experienced AD/CVD attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Mexico first country to ratify USMCA.

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This past Wednesday, Mexico became the first country to pass the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USCMA) to replace NAFTA. NAFTA was a free trade agreement also entered between the three countries over 25 years ago. As Mexico sends 80% of exports to the US, the passage of the trade agreement is a necessity for Mexico.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is trying to get the deal through the Canadian Parliament while in the United States, House Speaker has not yet put the passage of the USMCA up for vote. The House Speaker and her Democrat allies hold a majority in the House and are requiring stronger enforcement mechanisms for the provisions related to labor and environmental rules.

If you have any questions how the new USMCA or old NAFTA will impact your  business, contact David Hsu at dh@gjatradelaw.com or attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Mexico’s Tomato Growers Submit Proposal for New Tomato Suspension Agreement.

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As you are aware, a suspension agreement between tomato growers and the Department of Congress was passed in 1996 – this agreement reached between US and Mexican tomato growers to maintain a balance in market share between the two sides. This agreement also postponed any Commerce investigation into whether Mexican tomatoes are “dumped” into the US. Last year, tomato growers in Florida petitioned Commerce to suspend the agreement due to an increase in market share by Mexican tomato growers. After the required notice period, the agreement was withdrawn on May 7th.

On May 22nd, Mexico’s tomato growers submitted a proposal that addresses among other things:

1. reference prices for organic and non-organic tomatoes.
2. Mexican growers contend there is no instance of a sale below reference price.
3. Mexican growers without a US repack operation will have a disproportional and negative impact.
4. Revisions to Appendix D removing 100 percent of defective product from the US market.
5. Protection from legal challenges and exposure to treble damages for Mexican growers.
6. Export management such as quarterly certifications to include volumes assigned and or received for export.
7. Adding all tomatoes to the USDA marketing order on Florida tomatoes
8. Increase PACA enforcement including quarterly certifications, preseason letters
9. Commerce Department changes – establishing a taskforce between Commerce, USDA and CBP, quarterly meetings with Commerce to discuss monitoring and enforcement efforts, third-party verification compliance.

The full document can be viewed here. 

Check back for any updates on a new suspension agreement. If you have any questions, contact David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.