The Tomato Suspension Agreement proposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce in July has deeply flawed provisions, according to Mexican growers. These provisions infringe upon federal laws and are unlikely to survive antitrust and other legal actions that are sure to arise, according to the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas/Tomato Division (FPAA/TD).
Fortunately, the Mexican growers’ proposal from August 5 identifies a path forward that greatly reduces FPAA’s antitrust concerns, and this deserves full consideration by Commerce, said FPAA President Lance Jungmeyer.
“We have made two trips to Washington to meet with the Department of Commerce to explain how the Commerce proposal gives unfair advantage to one type of U.S. seller of Mexican tomatoes over other U.S. sellers of Mexican tomatoes, yet the unjustifiable provisions remain,” said Jungmeyer. “The Commerce proposal would allow repackers to profiteer on the condition of Mexican tomatoes at destination. By contrast, the new Mexican proposal provides a clear path to remove defective tomatoes from the marketplace. This is a step in the right direction.”
In written submitted comments and in a recent meeting with Commerce, FPAA has stated that Commerce is going beyond its statutory authority, particularly with sales price adjustments for defective tomatoes.