WASHINGTON (August 21, 2019)—Border Trade Alliance President Ms. Britton Clarke released the following statement upon the announcement that the United States Commerce Department and tomato growers in Mexico have reached a deal that will ensure that the import of Mexican fresh tomatoes into the U.S. remains duty-free:
“The Border Trade Alliance applauds the Commerce Department and tomato growers in Mexico for their diligent work over the last several months to preserve the duty-free construct that has defined U.S-Mexico trade for decades.
“As we and our colleagues in the trade community have made clear, imposing duties on fresh tomato imports would not only have hurt U.S. consumers in the pocketbook, but it would have run completely counter to the spirit of binational cooperation imbued in NAFTA and now the USMCA, and would have severely complicated the new agreement’s fate on Capitol Hill.
“While we are relieved that new duties and higher prices will not continue to be passed on to U.S. importers and consumers, we are wary of any new mandated inspection regime that could dramatically slow processing times of tomato imports at U.S. ports of entry and put freshness and quality at risk. We will examine any new inspection mandate closely.
“Our sincere thanks to all of the Members of Congress who made their voices heard on behalf of free trade and U.S. consumers. The work of Sen. Martha McSally in particular is deeply appreciated, as she marshaled the opposition to an attempt by a small band of regional interests to tilt the rules of trade in their favor at the detriment of overall trade competitiveness.
“This is good news and we look forward to issuing a formal response during the upcoming public comment period.”
The Border Trade Alliance has been a consistent voice for the maintenance of the Tomato Suspension Agreement and tariff-free agricultural trade between the U.S. and Mexico. Previous BTA statements on this topic:
- Border Trade Alliance statement on U.S. formal withdrawal from Tomato Suspension Agreement, imposition of duties (link)
- Commentary by BTA President Britton Clarke: Produce tariff hurts border (link)
- Produce section sticker shock: New study says duties on Mexican tomato imports mean big price hike for U.S. consumers (link)
- U.S. Agricultural Exports Put at Needless Risk by Small Group of Florida Tomato Growers, Trade Alliance President Charges (link)
- Large private-public sector coalition cites deep concerns over Department of Commerce decision to exit Tomato Suspension Agreement (link)
- Border Trade Alliance opposes Department of Commerce withdrawal from Tomato Suspension Agreement (link)
Since 1986, the BTA has served as a grassroots, non-profit organization that provides a forum for discussion and advocacy on issues pertaining to border development and quality of life and trade in the Americas. A network of public and private sector representatives from the United States, Mexico and Canada, BTA’s core values include a commitment to improving the quality of life of border communities through trade and commerce. The BTA is online at thebta.org and @borderalliance.
# # #