US moves toward agreement on Mexican tomatoes: ‘Meets the needs of both sides’

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - MAY 09: A woman picks a tomato at a market on Matías Romero street on May 9, 2019 in Mexico City, Mexico. On May 7 the United States imposed a 17.5% tariff on tomatoes of Mexican origin after a breakdown of a 22 year agreement. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Commerce says it’s reached a tentative deal with Mexican tomato producers to prevent unfairly cheap produce from reaching American consumers, heading off a potential 25 percent tariff.

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said Wednesday the draft agreement “meets the needs of both sides.”

The U.S. imports about $2 billion of Mexican tomatoes yearly.

The agreement sets minimum prices for Mexican tomatoes, including a 40% premium on organic imports.

The final deal has to be signed by Sept. 19 in order to definitively suspend an investigation that could have led to the tariffs. The probe into alleged dumping and price suppression began at the request of the Florida Tomato Exchange.

Commerce says the deal with benefit tomato producers across America, including those in Florida, Texas and Arizona.

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