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Still more Sinaloan exports (legal ones this time!)

4 February 2013


The United States and Mexico have reached a tentative agreement on cross-border trade in tomatoes, narrowly averting a trade war that threatened to engulf a swath of American businesses.

Sinaloa grows a lot of tomatoes, and it’s our #1 legal agricultural export… until recently, license plates here had a tomato on them, but that big red spot in the middle of the plate was an uncomfortable reminder of an unfortunate consequence resulting from another major agricultural export to the United States, but I’ll save that discussion for some time when the computer(s) are working better and I’ve got more time.

U.S. tomato growers for years have — besides grown kind of tasteless, bland tomatoes — relied on an anti-dumping agreement with the U.S. Department of MX_SINX_GI3Commerce (in other words, a protectionist measure in favor of U.S. growers) that meant Mexican growers weren’t making a fair price on their exports, but that “Florida growers contended …  set the minimum price of Mexican tomatoes so low that the Florida growers could not compete”.

So, the wholesale minimum price for Mexican tomatoes will be raised in the U.S., but on the other hand, you’ll enjoy more varieties.

The new agreement covers all fresh and chilled tomatoes, excluding those intended for use in processing like canning and dehydrating, and in juices, sauces and purées.

It raises the basic floor price for winter tomatoes to 31 cents a pound from 21.69 cents — higher than the price the Mexicans were proposing in October — and establishes even higher prices for specialty tomatoes and tomatoes grown in controlled environments. The Mexicans have invested billions in greenhouses to grow tomatoes, while Florida tomatoes are largely picked green and treated with a gas to change their color.

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