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Mexican tomato producers request elimination of U.S. export quotas

Staff Writer |
Mexican producers of tomatoes have requested that the export quotas be eliminated from the export agreement between the two nations when it is renegotiated, as it has generated higher costs.

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In 1996 Mexico and the United States signed an agreement to establish that Mexican producers would export a 25-pound box of tomatoes - about 11.5 kilos - for no less than $8.35.

This was because farmers in the U.S., especially in Florida, argued that the Mexican fruit had dumping prices, said Manuel Cazares, president of the Tomato Product System of Sonora.

After proving that it did not export its tomatoes at a dumping price, Mexico decided to sign this agreement, in which it was also stated that they had to submit a report on the status of certification of the fields each month to the Ministry of Agriculture of that country.

This entire legal process has generated higher costs to producers, as they had to hire lawyers in Washington, whose six-monthly services can cost up to $350,000.

The agreement is reviewed every five years and the Mexicans have complied because they consider that it is an important commercial relationship, as their exports amounted to $$2.16 billion in 2016, i.e. 15 percent more than in the previous year, according to data from the Ministry of Economy, which is why they demand confidence from the U.S. authorities.

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