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NatureSweet, Industry Leaders Partner on Low Tomato Prices

With support from tomato producers, trade associations, state and local leaders, and other industry professionals, NatureSweet has submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Commerce urging the government to preserve the 2019 Tomato Suspension Agreement, which it says is a critical component to ensuring stability and fair practices in the market for fresh tomatoes.

The Tomato Suspension Agreement, which has been in place in various forms since 1996 and was most recently renegotiated in 2019, ensures fair trade practices and a stable market for imports of fresh tomatoes from Mexico to the U.S. Without the 2019 Suspension Agreement in place, tomato producers would face tariffs of more than 20 percent on the import of fresh tomatoes into the U.S., according to NatureSweet.

“The suspension agreement is critical to keeping specialty tomato varieties on American grocery store shelves,” says Skip Hulett, VP of general counsel for NatureSweet, in a statement. “Nearly all of the grape and cherry tomatoes consumed by American families come from Mexico, where growing conditions are ideal for year-round production.”

NatureSweet has operations in both the U.S. and Mexico and employs more than 6,000 agricultural workers. Terminating the suspension agreement would impact NatureSweet’s ability to provide fresh produce to Americans and jeopardize jobs and the company’s ability to continue transforming the lives of agricultural workers in North America, according to the company.

“We provide year-round jobs, pay our employees almost 40 percent above the median wage for agricultural workers, we help our workers obtain access to improved medical care services, education, and develop careers,” said Hulett. “This tariff would punish companies like NatureSweet, which are doing the right thing.”

Recently, a coalition of more than 400 companies across the supply chain representing 32 states also signed a letter to the Commerce Department urging the Department to keep the agreement in place.

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