Tomato Import Tariffs increase to 17.5%
U.S. prices on Tomatoes could also Increase
On May 7, 2019, “the Department of Commerce announced the termination of the 2013 Suspension Agreement on Fresh Tomatoes from Mexico, and that negotiations will continue regarding a possible revised agreement acceptable to the Mexican signatories which also addresses the concerns of the U.S. industry to the extent permissible by U.S. trade law.”
The purpose of suspending the agreement is due to an investigation of unfair trade practices and protecting the U.S. economy. In an article on NPR.org, Michael Schadler of the Florida Tomato Exchange comments, “Depending on where you are in the country, especially at the retail level, you’re going to see mostly Mexican tomatoes at this time of year…Mexico now grows more than half the fresh tomatoes sold in the United States. Imports from Mexico have more than doubled since 2002.” A farmer in this article goes on to state how NAFTA has affected his family-run business over the years. Read more here.
“The Department of Commerce remains committed to ensuring that American domestic industries are protected from unfair trading practices,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “We remain optimistic that there will be a negotiated solution.”
What will change?
All tomato imports from Mexico will be subject to a 17.5% duty rate for anything entering the United States starting May 7, 2019. Tariffs could be refunded if a subsequent investigation finds no unfair pricing; a final decision should be complete in September 2019 and we should learn more then.
Samuel Camarillo, Scarbrough’s Southern Border Operations manager and retired Mexico Customs agent, mentions, “Mexico exports about 2 billion dollars of tomatoes annually to the United States, according Mexican Department of Commerce. A commercial war for tomatoes was avoided twice since the 1990s, most recently in the 2013 agreement that put a minimum price on Mexican tomatoes sold in the United States, while forbidding U.S. producers from pursuing anti-dumping charges against Mexican exporters.”
What should I do if I love tomatoes?
Start growing tomatoes or stock up on canned goods until an agreement is met in a couple months from now.