Arizona Legislative Committee Pens Letter Urging Tomato Suspension Agreement Renegotiation
- by Maggie Mead
NOGALES, AZ - As the Tomato Suspension Agreement quagmire continues to unfold, members of the Arizona Legislature have taken a stand. In a recent letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, the legislative committee stressed the importance of negotiating an updated Tomato Suspension Agreement.
"We are concerned to see efforts from certain regional interests to disrupt the normal negotiation process between the Department of Commerce and the Mexican growers, a process that has happened regularly since 1996,” the letter reads. “By not renegotiating an agreement that has worked for over 20 years to stabilize the tomato markets, this Committee fears we would be erecting new trade barriers in fruits and vegetables that will directly harm Arizona businesses and consumers across the United States."
The letter urges for a renegotiation of the agreement, and follows recent testimony from The Fresh Produce Association of the Americas (FPAA). In that testimony, the FPAA’s Tomato Division Chairman, Jimmy Munguia, addressed the recent announcement from the Department of Commerce to terminate the 22-year-old Tomato Suspension Agreement between Commerce and tomato growers in Mexico. At the hearing, Garrick Taylor from the Border Trade Alliance also testified in favor of maintaining the Tomato Suspension Agreement.
“Arizona is home to diverse industries that thrive on trade with our largest trading partner, and the businesses in Arizona that import fresh fruits and vegetables from Mexico are an important part of the economic health of our state,” states the letter. “The importation of fresh produce from Mexico has been a major boon to Arizona, creating tens of thousands of jobs for importers, distributors, brokers, packers, retailers, box companies, truckers, restaurants, freight forwarders, warehouse operations, wholesalers, and more.”
U.S. distributors in Arizona are concerned that the termination of the pact, which has till now created jobs and thriving businesses around the importation of tomatoes, could lead to higher prices for consumers, and loss of jobs and businesses in Arizona and across the U.S. An estimated 33,000 U.S. workers and 1.4 million Mexican workers could be impacted, which could then lead to a complete disruption of the North American supply chain.
AndNowUKnow will continue to deliver updates on this story as it further develops.