Even With Mexican Tomato Agreement, Some Duties Likely Still Coming

Published: Monday, May 6, 2019 - 8:49am

There is no sign yet of a new deal for imported Mexican tomatoes. But even a last-minute deal may not prevent some duties from being imposed.

May 7 is the day the U.S. Commerce Department said it would withdraw from the Suspension Agreement on Fresh Tomatoes from Mexico. That deal paused an anti-dumping investigation and sets floor prices for imported tomatoes. If Commerce withdraws, a more-than 17-percent duty will be imposed on imports.

But even if ongoing negotiations produce a new deal by May 7, industry representatives say there will likely be at least 30 days of duties while the deal is reviewed.

“It’s going to make it a lot harder to import tomatoes and to make a profit off of tomatoes,” said Guillermo Valencia, president of the Nogales customs house broker Valencia International.

Even a month of paying duties could spell higher prices for consumers. May is typically one of the heaviest months of tomato imports through Nogales. Last May, $53 million worth of tomatoes crossed through the border city.

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