BISHOP STANDS UP FOR TOMATO INDUSTRY
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02), member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, stood in support of Georgia’s tomato industry in regards to unfair trade practices. In a letter to the Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce Rebecca Blank, Congressman Bishop called for the withdrawal of the 1996 antidumping petition and the termination of the 2008 Suspension Agreement governing the importation of tomatoes from Mexico.
"I believe that the 2008 Agreement has not lived up to expectations and has had a detrimental impact on our domestic tomato industry,” wrote Congressman Bishop. “The agreement was intended to discourage, if not prevent, our Mexican trading partners from undercutting tomato prices in the United States. Unfortunately, however, that has not been the effect. Both the Mexican government as well as Mexican tomato producers have ignored the agreement in total.”
In 1996, an antidumping petition requesting relief from unfairly traded imports of fresh tomatoes from Mexico was filed by tomato producers from across the nation. After examining the facts, the United States government determined that there was reason to believe the subject tomatoes were being sold in this country at less than fair value at margins as high as 188 percent. Today, Mexican tomato imports have roughly tripled, reaching a staggering level of approximately $1.8 billion last year.
U.S. tomato farmers are still reeling from the 2008 tomato salmonella recall debacle as consumers ‘quit buying tomatoes’ on the recommendation of the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Georgia alone, tomato growers lost over $14 million from tomatoes grown but not sold; growers nationwide lost more than $125 million. By terminating the existing Agreement, fair market competition will be restored, predatory actions on the part of tomato producers in Mexico will be stopped, and Georgia growers of all size will be unburdened by the flood of unfairly priced tomatoes on the market.
To read the letter to Acting Secretary Rebecca Blank, please click here.