U.S. Department of Commerce Continues Suspended Antidumping Investigation of Fresh Tomatoes from Mexico
UNITED STATES - While the industry was able to take a breath last month after a new Tomato Suspension Agreement was signed, the investigation is back underway at the request of the Florida Tomato Exchange, who submitted a request on October 11, and Red Sun Farms, who submitted a request on October 15. As a result, the Department of Commerce will continue the antidumping duty investigation of fresh tomatoes from Mexico and will also issue a final affirmative determination of dumping. Despite the renewed investigation, the new agreement will remain in force pending the outcome of an investigation by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC).
“At the request of domestic producers, the Department is completing the investigation into imports of Mexican fresh tomatoes,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in a press release. “Now it is up to the International Trade Commission to determine whether dumped imports harm the American tomato industry—and whether, as a consequence, the suspension agreement will remain in place.”
Under the current antidumping law, Section 734(g) of the Tariff Act of 1930, Commerce can be requested to continue the suspended antidumping investigation—even if the new agreement signed on September 19, 2019 eliminated the injurious effects of unfairly priced tomatoes, prevented price suppression and undercutting, extinguished all dumping, and removed major uncertainties for growers and workers in Mexico.
“The U.S. Department of Commerce has announced a final dumping margin of 21 percent in the resumed antidumping investigation of Mexican tomatoes. This result comes as no surprise to American tomato farmers who have seen domestic production decline significantly in the face of unfairly traded Mexican imports,” wrote Michael Schadler, Executive Vice President of the Florida Tomato Exchange in a press release. “The U.S. tomato industry looks forward to presenting its case before the International Trade Commission in the coming weeks.”
Due to the requests from U.S. growers, the ITC will continue the suspended investigation of whether imports of fresh tomatoes from Mexico injure or threaten injury to Stateside producers. Commerce has also instructed Customs and Border Protection to lift suspensions of liquidation and to return importers’ cash deposits.
If the ITC’s final determination is affirmative, then the suspension agreement will remain in place. However, if the ITC’s final determination is negative, then Commerce and ITC will terminate their investigations, and the suspension agreement will have no force or effect, allowing tomatoes from Mexico to enter the United States free of antidumping duties.
As more developments unfold, AndNowUKnow will continue to report.