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U.S. Tomato Growers Indicate Tentative Support For Revised Suspension Agreement Covering Fresh Tomatoes From Mexico Reached By The U.S. Government And Mexican Growers

MAITLAND, Fla., Feb. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In June 2012, U.S. tomato producers from throughout the United States filed a request to withdraw the 16-year old antidumping petition and have the existing suspension agreement covering fresh tomato exports from Mexico terminated.  Their effort was designed to ensure a fair and transparent market as U.S. law provides.  After extensive consultations with the U.S. Department of Commerce, domestic tomato growers indicated tentative support for the revisions negotiated by the U.S. Government and Mexican growers.  After being briefed on the tentative agreement, the Florida Tomato Exchange and Certified Greenhouse Farmers released the following statement:

Reggie Brown, Executive Vice President of the Florida Tomato Exchange, said, "Today, the U.S. Government initialed an agreement with Mexican growers that they believe will address unfair trade in fresh tomatoes.   The existing suspension agreement had  serious flaws  and injury  was being felt  by U.S. producers and their workers.   We have been honored and humbled by the support we have received from Agricultural Commissioners and Secretaries in a number of states, Members of Congress and representatives of the workers, most importantly the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, in the fight for fair trade."  

Mr. Brown continued, "Mexican growers and their government have tried to protect their interests with tremendous pressure on our government, threats to U.S. producers and a well-funded lobbying and media campaign. The facts, however, were clear and could not be disputed.  Mexican tomatoes were being sold in the U.S. market in rapidly increasing volumes at prices that did not reflect the cost of production.  In technical trade jargon, that's known as "dumping" and is illegal under U.S. and Mexican trade laws and the suspension agreement that Mexican producers had signed with the U.S. Department of Commerce.  The public understands its real impact which has been declining production and employment, the bankruptcy of growers and community devastation."

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