Top-level finding: If a protectionist action prohibits or limits imports of Mexican tomatoes, U.S. consumers can expect prices for fresh tomatoes to double or worse, according to a study based on Nielsen data. Worse still, shoppers would feel the impact of high prices the most during the winter months, when much of the U.S. is incapable of growing tomatoes. For instance, hothouse tomatoes on the vine could rise from a national average of about $2.50 a pound to nearly $5 a pound. Grape tomatoes could rise to nearly $5.50 a pound.
Background: A select group of Florida tomato growers is seeking to terminate a long-standing U.S.-Mexico tomato trade agreement that ensures ample supplies of tomatoes for American shoppers. Florida growers have stated their goal is to seek relief under U.S. trade law. This may include tariff duties or other provisions that effectively exclude Mexican tomatoes from the U.S. market. Because of a range of suitable climates and world-class indoor tomato-growing technology, Mexico offers varieties that are simply unavailable in acceptable volumes from domestic growers. In particular, consumers have come to enjoy Mexican vine-ripened tomatoes, and because of reasonable prices and availability, tomatoes recently became the No. 1 purchased fresh vegetable in the U.S., according to Fresh Trends consumer data. Click the link to read the entire summary.