The BTA in June 2021 sent this letter to Commerce Sec. Gina Raimondo, which expresses the organization’s concern that Commerce will treat “FOB U.S. Shipping Point” as meaning the U.S. port-of-entry, not the first U.S. selling agent’s facility. Existing law, however, defines FOB as the first point of sale, not the first point of entry.
The result of this change is an increase in the minimum reference price for all tomatoes set forth in the Tomato Suspension Agreement by requiring the U.S. first point of sale agents to include above the minimum reference price costs such as U.S. customs fees, USDA inspection fees, transportation from the border to the facility, and other handling fees incurred from the moment the truck crosses the U.S.-Mexico border through shipping at the U.S. border facility (i.e. the importing or sale agent’s warehouse in the U.S.). This is a dramatic departure from the way the fresh produce import industry has conducted business.