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For Immediate Release: January 22, 2008
Contact: Brittany Eck   (202) 482-3809


WASHINGTON – The Department of Commerce today signed a new suspension agreement with growers and exporters accounting for a substantial majority of Mexico’s tomato exports to the United States. The 2008 Suspension Agreement will suspend all antidumping duty orders covering all fresh or chilled tomatoes of Mexican origin, except for those tomatoes that are for processing.

“This Agreement helps to stabilize North American tomato trade and fosters unprecedented cooperation among the industries to address common commercial challenges and promote new markets for their products,” said Assistant Secretary for Import Administration David Spooner. “This Agreement illustrates the Administration’s ability to solve difficult trade disputes in a collaborative fashion. We are thankful for the U.S. and Mexican industries’ constructive participation in reaching this new Agreement.”

There have been two previous suspension Agreements covering imports of fresh tomatoes from Mexico. On October 28, 1996, and again on December 4, 2002, Commerce and producers/exporters of fresh tomatoes imported from Mexico entered into similar Agreements suspending the antidumping investigation on fresh tomatoes. This Agreement replaces the 2002 Suspension Agreement. As in past Agreements, each Mexican producer/exporter and its U.S. distributors agree to prevent the suppression or undercutting of prices of domestic fresh tomatoes by selling tomatoes imported from Mexico at or above reference prices calculated by Commerce.

Since the effective date of the original Agreement in 1996, the number of active signatories has increased from 140 signatories to more than 450 signatories. As a result of the Agreements, market prices for tomatoes have become more stable. Throughout the tenure of the 1996 and 2002 Agreements, average prices have continued to be at or above the reference prices set by the Agreements.

Commerce will continue to track import volumes and prices of Mexican tomatoes in the United States. Commerce will actively monitor signatory compliance with the Agreement through its well-established mechanisms, which include quarterly signatory reporting requirements and on-site examinations of signatory growers’ pricing and distribution practices.