Today, at the request of U.S. tomato producers and as required by the statute, the Department of Commerce continued the antidumping duty investigation of fresh tomatoes from Mexico. Simultaneously, Commerce issued a final affirmative determination of dumping. However, the recently negotiated suspension agreement remains in force pending the outcome of an investigation by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). No antidumping duties will be imposed as a result of today’s action.
“At the request of domestic producers, the Department is completing the investigation into imports of Mexican fresh tomatoes,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “Now it is up to the International Trade Commission to determine whether dumped imports harm the American tomato industry – and whether, as a consequence, the suspension agreement will remain in place.”
On September 19, 2019, Commerce and Mexican tomato growers finalized an agreement suspending the Department’s antidumping investigation of fresh tomatoes from Mexico. The agreement contains strong enforcement provisions that completely eliminate the injurious effects of unfairly priced Mexican tomatoes, prevent price suppression and undercutting, and extinguish substantially all dumping. The agreement also removes major uncertainties for the Mexican growers and their workers.
Under the antidumping law, when there is a suspension agreement in place, interested parties may request that Commerce continue the suspended antidumping investigation. The Florida Tomato Exchange, whose members are domestic producers of tomatoes, submitted such a request on October 11. Red Sun Farms, another domestic producer, submitted a similar request on October 15. Under Section 734(g) of the Tariff Act of 1930, the Department is required to continue a suspended investigation after receiving such a request.
As a result of today’s action, the ITC is expected to continue its suspended investigation of whether imports of fresh tomatoes from Mexico injure, or threaten injury, to the domestic tomato industry. The suspension agreement will remain in place, pending the outcome of the ITC’s investigation. Additionally, the Department is instructing Customs and Border Protection to lift suspension of liquidation and to return importers’ cash deposits.
If the ITC’s final determination is affirmative, then the suspension agreement will remain in place. However, if the ITC’s final determination is negative, then Commerce and ITC will terminate their investigations, and the suspension agreement will have no force or effect, allowing tomatoes from Mexico to enter the United States free of antidumping duties.
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Enforcement and Compliance unit within the International Trade Administration is responsible for vigorously enforcing U.S. trade law and does so through an impartial, transparent process that abides by international rules and is based on factual evidence provided on the record.
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