Tomato FAQs

What is the Tomato Suspension Agreement (TSA)?

The Tomato Suspension Agreement is a 16-year trade agreement between the U.S. government and Mexican tomato producers regulating the price of tomatoes imported into the U.S. from Mexico. The agreement, which was accepted by U.S. growers, has operated successfully with no claims of violations filed against Mexico. The agreement has been renewed twice since it was first signed in 1996.

What would happen if the tomato agreement is terminated?

The U.S. could impose tariffs on Mexican tomatoes that would translate into higher prices and less choice for consumers at U.S. supermarkets.

U.S. officials also have expressed concern that if Florida special interests are successful in convincing the administration to end the tomato trade agreement, Mexico could retaliate against American agricultural exports to Mexico.  Last year the United States exported billions of dollars of farm products to Mexico including $870 million in poultry, $816 million in pork, $762 million in beef and $39 million in potatoes, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics.

If Mexican tomato imports are halted or curtailed, tens of thousands of U.S. jobs in the importing, warehousing and marketing businesses – particularly in Arizona, Texas and California – could be at risk. More than 6 million U.S. jobs and are dependent on the $397 billion in total annual trade between the U.S. and Mexico according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

How important are Mexican tomato imports to the United States?

Mexican tomatoes represent about 40 percent of the tomatoes sold in the United States during the winter season and contribute to the wide variety of fresh tomatoes available to U.S. consumers. The availability of Mexican tomatoes also helps ensure stable pricing in the U.S. tomato market for consumers.

Why was the Tomato Suspension Agreement originally negotiated?

In 1996 the U.S. tomato industry filed an antidumping regarding Mexican tomatoes. Even though there was never a finding that Mexican imports were injuring U.S. tomato growers, the Mexican producers agreed to enter a “suspension agreement” with the U.S. Commerce Department establishing a price floor that allowed Mexico to continue exporting tomatoes to the United States.

Why is the tomato agreement now threatened?

On June 22 Florida tomato growers filed a request with the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. International Trade Commission seeking to withdraw from the 16-year U.S.-Mexico agreement. That action triggered regulations that require the U.S. Commerce Department to determine whether it would be in the “public interest” to end the 16-year trade agreement.

Download the Tomato FAQs here.

Download our press release: Obama Administration Urged to Avert U.S.-Mexico Tomato War

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