As reported earlier in the month, Florida lawmakers Ted Yoho and Marco Rubio garnered 45 supporters to direct a letter to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to end an agreement with Mexican tomato farmers because it “has allowed unfair competition to increasingly put U.S. tomato growers out of business.” In addition, the letter explained that “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.”
The bipartisan letter proved to be effective as it was announced late last week that the United States would withdraw from the agreement effective May 7th.
Senator Marco Rubio thanked Secretary Ross and the Department of Commerce “for sending a strong message that the U.S. will ensure vigilant enforcement of our existing trade laws and trade agreements.” He further explained that “Fairly traded imports can and do enrich Americans’ lives, but we must be clear with our trade partners that unfair trade practices that threaten American livelihoods will not be tolerated. During the ninety-day notice period, I urge the Department to carefully monitor Mexican tomato imports and to take action to terminate the agreement prior to May 7th should such action be warranted.”
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The Florida Senator also thanked Representative Ted Yoho for supporting the withdrawal, and Yoho expressed that “this announcement opens the door for both countries to negotiate a new agreement that is mutually beneficial to both countries.”
In the Department of Commerce’s announcement, the Department noted that “Upon completion of the withdrawal, the Department of Commerce will continue with its investigation and notify the International Trade Commission (ITC) of its final determination. If the Department continues to find sales made at less than fair value in its final determination, the ITC will then complete its own investigation and make a final determination with respect to injury. If both Commerce and the ITC issue affirmative final determinations, an antidumping duty order will be issued.”