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As battle with Mexican growers heats up

U.S. consumer might have to pay more for tomatoes in July

Mexico's dominance in US tomato imports

Mexico is a significant exporter of tomatoes to the United States, leading to the U.S. Department of Commerce contemplating tariffs to support domestic growers. This consideration is based on evidence suggesting Mexico's practice of selling tomatoes at prices substantially lower than the fair market value. Studies indicate Mexican tomatoes are sold at prices up to 30% below the fair market price, a situation attributed to subsidies provided to Mexican tomato growers, allowing them to offer lower prices in the U.S. market. This practice, reportedly ongoing for decades, might lead to the imposition of tariffs on Mexican tomatoes as early as July, following a review by Commerce officials.

The potential tariffs could result in a 21% average price increase for U.S. consumers on Mexican tomato imports, including vine-ripened tomatoes and other tomato products. This increase would affect retail prices, potentially raising them from $2 to $2.20 a pound for fresh tomatoes on the vine, and could also impact manufacturers who rely on tomatoes, possibly leading to higher prices at the retail level. Mexico's contribution to the U.S. tomato market is substantial, with over 90% of U.S. tomato imports originating from Mexico. In 2022, Mexico exported 1.81 million metric tons of tomatoes to the United States, with a significant impact on both the wholesale and retail markets. The economic role of these imports is notable, supporting thousands of jobs within the United States. The debate over Mexico's pricing strategies highlights the complexities of international trade and its impact on domestic agriculture and consumer prices.


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