Florida Tomato Suspension Agreement

Florida Tomato Suspension Agreement

The Florida Tomato Suspension Agreement – What it Means for the Tomato Industry

The Florida Tomato Suspension Agreement, also known as the Tomato Suspension Agreement (TSA), is a trade agreement between the United States and Mexico. It was initially signed in 1996 and has been renewed several times since then. The agreement aims to promote fair trade practices and prevent dumping of Mexican tomatoes in the US market.

The agreement is particularly important to the tomato industry in Florida, which is one of the largest producers of tomatoes in the US. The Florida Tomato Exchange (FTE), which represents Florida tomato growers, negotiated the agreement with the Mexican tomato industry. Under the TSA, Mexican tomato exporters agree to sell their products at a minimum price in the US market, which is known as the reference price. The reference price is calculated based on the cost of production plus a reasonable profit margin.

In return, the US Department of Commerce agrees to suspend its investigation into alleged dumping of Mexican tomatoes in the US market. The Department of Agriculture also provides price reporting and inspection services to ensure compliance with the agreement.

The TSA has been controversial among tomato growers and importers. Some growers argue that the agreement does not do enough to protect Florida tomato growers from unfair competition from Mexico. They claim that Mexican tomato exporters are able to sell their products below the reference price, thus undermining the agreement`s goal of fair trade practices.

Importers, on the other hand, argue that the agreement artificially inflates the price of Mexican tomatoes, making them less competitive in the US market. They claim that the agreement protects Florida tomato growers at the expense of consumers who pay higher prices for tomatoes.

Despite these controversies, the TSA has been effective in stabilizing the tomato market in the US. It has also allowed US consumers to have access to fresh tomatoes year-round, as Mexican tomatoes are available during the winter months when Florida tomatoes are out of season.

The agreement is due for renewal in 2022, and negotiations are already underway. The FTE has proposed several changes to the agreement, including raising the reference price, reducing the amount of Mexican tomatoes allowed in the US market, and strengthening enforcement measures.

In conclusion, the Florida Tomato Suspension Agreement plays a crucial role in regulating the tomato trade between the US and Mexico. While it has been controversial among industry stakeholders, it has helped to ensure fair trade practices and stabilize the tomato market. As negotiations for the renewal of the agreement continue, it will be important to balance the interests of all parties involved to ensure a sustainable and equitable tomato industry.