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Challenges in Eliminating U.S. Tomato Trade Agreement with Mexico

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As Harvard University’s first vice provost for international affairs, Jorge I. Dominguez, PhD, supported academic research and teaching across the globe. As a professor emeritus, Dr. Jorge Dominguez focused on Latin American countries such as Cuba and Mexico, and he keeps a close watch on the region’s political, social, and trade developments.

In raising concerns about the impending termination of a 22-year-old tomato trade agreement by the U.S. Department of Commerce, local distributors throughout Arizona recently highlighted the complex nature of trade between the United States and Mexico. The U.S. Department of Commerce move reflects allegations by the Florida Tomato Exchange and other Southern tomato producers’ associations that Mexican tomatoes have long been dumped in the U.S. at below market prices.
According to the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, disrupting the North American tomato supply chain will result in significantly higher prices for consumers and job losses as tomato markets enter a new era of volatility. The impacts are expected to extend to 33,000 and 1.4 million workers in the U.S. and Mexico, respectively. Tomatoes are not simply purchased in retail settings, but used as ingredients by a diversity of restaurant chains and U.S.-based food manufacturers.
The Border Trade Alliance also provided vocal support of maintaining the longstanding Tomato Suspension Agreement and avoiding the creation of new trade barriers in fruits and vegetables that will be difficult to dismantle and may lead to Mexico seeking new agriculture trading partners.

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