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.

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 After the required notice period, the agreement was withdrawn on May 7th.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.