WASHINGTON, Sept. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The International Trade Administration of the U.S. Commerce Department today announced a preliminary decision to scrap the 1996 suspension agreement on fresh tomatoes from Mexico. Representatives of five principal Mexican tomato industry organizations are scheduled to meet with Commerce officials Friday morning, and issued this statement:
We were stunned by today's preliminary decision by the U.S. Commerce Department to terminate the longstanding agreement on fresh tomatoes from Mexico.
This does not serve the interests of U.S. consumers. If this decision stands, prices will increase and the supply of quality tomatoes will plummet.
We have partnered with the Commerce Department in this agreement for 16 years. And for those 16 years we have done everything that the U.S. government has asked. We have never been in violation of this agreement; nor have we even been accused of violating the agreement.
We were disappointed that the Commerce Department issued this decision the day before it finally agreed to consult with us on the agreement, something we have been requesting for more than three months. We were further astonished that the Commerce Department ignored the evidence we submitted on the record that not even half of the U.S. industry supports this short-sighted decision.
Commerce also totally disregarded the public interest, as well as the views of over 300 U.S. companies.
We have acted with the utmost professionalism for 16 years and we will continue to do so. We plan to present a very strong proposal to the Commerce Department in our meeting tomorrow and work to chart a course forward. As we have said all along, this is the smoothest and least disruptive way to resolve this issue. We hope the Commerce Department takes our proposal seriously.
We note this is a preliminary determination only. The Commerce Department has another 233 days to consider the facts. They should take the full time and consider this carefully. We believe when all the facts are considered, Commerce should come to a decision that does not circumvent its own process for a small special interest group, harm U.S. consumers, and damage the U.S. trade relationship with Mexico.
Confederacion de Asociaciones Agricolas del Estado de Sinaloa, A.C. (CAADES)
Consejo Agrícola de Baja California, A.C. (CABC)
Asociacion Mexicana de Horticultura Protegida, A.C. (AMHPAC)
Union Agricola Regional de Sonora Productores de Hortalizas Frutas y Legumbres (UARS)
Confederacion Nacional de Productores de Hortalizas (CNPH)
SOURCE CAADES; CABC; AMHPAC; UARS; CNPH