The US plans to increase the tariff on Mexican tomatoes

The US Government threatened to increase the compensatory quota for shipments of Mexican tomato from the current rate of 17.56 percent to 25.28 percent, as a result of the investigation conducted by the Department of Commerce of that country.

Even though Mexican exporters expected an update on the 17.56 percent compensatory quota that they've had to pay since May 7 of this year, the national industry was confident that the result of the investigation would result in a zero adjustment because they estimated that the investigation would determine that there had been no damage to the US industry. The US government announced that, according to its calculations, the dumping margin for Mexican tomatoes was 25.28 percent.

The Confederation of Agricultural Associations of the State of Sinaloa (CAADES) said that the imposition of this tax would completely remove small and medium exporters from the market and lower of tomato shipments to the United States by a large volume.

"The 25.28 percent margin is very high. It would end with the export of tomatoes, only the largest exporters, the most integrated, and the ones with the greatest economic capacity would survive. The vast majority of medium and small exporters would suffer serious damage, "said Mario Robles, the director of the vegetable division of CAADES.

The United States used an inappropriate methodology that allowed it to calculate a higher dumping margin, the representative of the tomato sector said.

"In an exercise made following the same procedure that is normally used for the dumping investigation, our lawyers found that the Department of Commerce should have gotten a zero, or very close to zero, margin," the manager of CAADES stated.

What's very strange, Mario Robles added, is that the period used to carry out the investigation was from May 2018 to May 2019 and during that period the tomatoes were still being exported with reference prices, so sales couldn't be below production costs.

"How is it possible?", he asked. "If we were selling at the reference price or above the reference price, following the agreement that we couldn't sell below that price, the dumping margin should have resulted in zero or close to zero."

The US Department of Commerce is expected to present its final determination on the anti-dumping investigation on tomatoes on September 19.


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