Florida Republican lawmakers Senator Marco Rubio and Congressman Ted Yoho are teaming up to encourage the U.S. Commerce Department to end an agreement with Mexican tomato growers.
Amassing more than 45 members of Congress to sign a letter directed to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to end the agreement, the letter argues that the Department “has allowed unfair competition to increasingly put U.S. tomato growers out of business.” In addition, the letter also asks for “terminating the current agreement would restart a U.S. antidumping investigation on fresh tomatoes from Mexico while giving Commerce more leverage to try to secure a new suspension agreement that is both effective and enforceable.”
Commenting on the letter, Florida Senator Marco Rubio noted that “Fairly traded imports can and do enrich Americans’ lives, but unfair trade practices can eviscerate the jobs and production that define dignified livelihoods and sustain our communities. The U.S. tomato industry has been the canary in the coal mine for domestic fruit and vegetable production over the last three decades. Immediately terminating the suspension agreement will reinvigorate the antidumping investigation on fresh tomatoes from Mexico and send the message that the U.S. will ensure vigilant enforcement of our existing trade laws and trade agreements.”
In addition, Congressman Yoho commented that “The ineffective tomato suspension agreement between the Department of Commerce and Mexican tomato producers places U.S. tomato farmers at an unfair disadvantage. The current dumping of produce by the Mexican government harms our tomato farmers and goes against existing trade protections. It is only prudent that the Department of Commerce terminates the suspension agreement immediately and renegotiates more favorable terms for US producers. ”
The letter further explains that “Mexican exporters have shown no interest in accepting a suspension agreement that would close the loopholes that permit them to continue dumping tomatoes and injuring American tomato growers and packers. Such suspension agreements have always been negotiated with the best intentions in mind. Yet, three different agreements have already been negotiated over the last 22 years because each previous agreement had failed to work as intended.”