Coalition formed to keep Tomato Suspension Agreement

U.S. tomato importers face hundreds of millions of dollars in duties if the U.S. Dept. of Commerce withdraws from the Tomato Suspension Agreement, according to a March 6, 2019 statement by the Border Trade Alliance (BTA).


The BTA, which is leading the coalition of concerned business, industry and government partners, sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Feb. 27, 2019 in response to last month’s announcement by the Commerce Department that the U.S. would exit the agreement by May 7.  If that happens, importers would begin facing hundreds of millions of dollars in duties.


“This letter sends the message loud and clear that the business community and affected local governments believe that withdrawing from the agreement that has governed cross-border tomato trade with Mexico since 2013 risks tremendous harm to the U.S. economy,” BTA Chair Paola Avila said.


The letter to Commerce references a recent University of Arizona study that finds tomato imports are responsible for more than 30,000 U.S. jobs and nearly $3 billion in U.S. GDP.


“There are too many jobs and too much economic activity connected to the tomato trade to sacrifice them for certain regional agricultural interests’ attempts to tilt the rules of trade in their favour,” BTA president Britton Clarke said. “Withdrawing from the Tomato Suspension Agreement could not only lead to retaliation from one of our leading trade partners, but could also complicate ongoing efforts to adopt the USMCA.”


For more background and another viewpoint, read the opinion editorial by Michael Schadler, executive vice-president of the Florida Tomato Exchange at



The full letter from the Border Trade Alliance to the Department of Commerce is available here.



Source: Border Trade Alliance website statement, March 6, 2019


If latest news: 
Check if it is latest news (for "Latest News" page)
Publish date: 
Friday, March 8, 2019

Click to leave a comment

For security purposes, please confirm you are not a robot!


Potato Sustainability Alliance formed

Two Canadians have been elected to the board of directors of the new Potato Sustainability Alliance. They are John MacQuarrie, Cavendish Farms as chair and Sanford Gleddie, The Little Potato Company as treasurer. 

Fruit Logistica Innovation Award goes to Yoom tomatoes

The Yoom tomato bred by Syngenta Seeds has been voted the 2020 Innovation of the Year by fair goers to the Fruit Logistica trade show in Berlin.  

U.S. potatoes destined for China

As details are unearthed about the American trade deal with China, growers are learning that processing potatoes could be eligible by February 24, 2020. Last-minute negotiations are anticipated regarding market access protocol. 

E. coli outbreak in romaine lettuce declared over

American food safety authorities declared that as of January 15, 2020, the E. coli outbreak connected to romaine lettuce from Salinas, California is now over. A total of 165 people were sickened. No deaths were reported. 

Fruit Logistica Innovation Award nominees

The showcase of 2020 Innovation Award nominees will be a top attraction in Berlin from Feb 5-7.  One of them is a cross between Chinese green cabbage and broccoli with a distinctive purple stalk.