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U.S., Mexico reach tomato trade accord

Feb. 3, 2013 at 4:44 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- The United States and Mexico have reached a tentative agreement to avoid a cross-border tomato trade war, officials in both countries said.

The deal was prompted by a request to the U.S. Commerce Department by an association of Florida tomato farmers to renew a 1990s crop-dumping investigation of Mexican growers. American farmers contended Mexican growers were selling their produce at prices so low they couldn't compete.

The deal would raise the minimum sale price of Mexican tomatoes -- in some cases by as much as double -- increase the number of tomato varieties covered from one to four and increase compliance measures.

The New York Times reported Sunday the Florida growers who raised the objection to the Mexican growers' prices cite statistics saying as much as 50 percent of tomatoes consumed in the United States are grown in Mexico.

A Commerce Department spokesman said the agreement is open for public comment until Feb. 11 and will likely go into effect in March.

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