As consumers face higher prices, negotiations must continue

WASHINGTON (May 7, 2019)—Border Trade Alliance President Ms. Britton Clarke released the following statement upon the completion of the United States’ formal withdrawal from the 1996 Tomato Suspension Agreement and the imposition of duties on fresh tomato imports from Mexico.

“We regret that the Department of Commerce has withdrawn the U.S. from the agreement that has governed U.S.-Mexico tomato trade for decades. It’s a move that hits shoppers in the wallet. As a result of this decision and the establishment of a duty on fresh tomato imports from Mexico, U.S. consumers will face higher prices on popular tomato varieties.

“We believe that productive conversations between the Department of Commerce and Mexico tomato growers could have continued without a total withdrawal from the agreement. We take the Department at its word that negotiations over a possible revised agreement will continue. They must continue with urgency, or we risk inflicting lasting damage on the U.S. economy.

“We hope that agricultural trade between the U.S. and Mexico will soon be conducted tariff-free. Good trade policy should reflect the needs of consumers and the U.S. economy broadly, not the concerns of a small but vocal band of regional interests.”

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:

• 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 and @borderalliance.

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