Following a months long effort, U.S. Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) today praised the new agreement reached by the Department of Commerce to settle a trade dispute regarding tomatoes imported from Mexico.
Tomatoes are the single largest commodity imported through Nogales, with over 1.5 billion pounds imported each year, with an estimated value of close to $2 billion.
“This new agreement will protect Arizona companies from paying an astronomical price to ship tomatoes and will most importantly, keep Arizonans employed,” McSally said. “This goes a long way to safeguard affordable prices for families at the grocery store and maintain our strong cross-border commerce.”
McSally has long been working to push the administration to renegotiate a tomato suspension agreement.
On August 13, McSally and U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) wrote a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross expressing their concerns about provisions in the Department of Commerce’s latest tomato suspension agreement proposal which would be detrimental to Arizona’s economy and workforce.
On March 4, McSally led the Arizona delegation in a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to continue renegotiation toward a mutually-agreed Tomato Suspension Agreement that addresses U.S. grower concerns.
Border Trade Alliance President Ms. Britton Clarke: “The Border Trade Alliance applauds the Commerce Department and tomato growers in Mexico for their diligent work over the last several months to preserve the duty-free construct that has defined U.S-Mexico trade for decades. Our sincere thanks to all of the Members of Congress who made their voices heard on behalf of free trade and U.S. consumers. The work of Sen. Martha McSally in particular is deeply appreciated, as she marshaled the opposition to an attempt by a small band of regional interests to tilt the rules of trade in their favor at the detriment of overall trade competitiveness.
Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry President and CEO Glenn Hamer: “Arizona’s business community deeply appreciates Sen. McSally’s successful efforts to ensure that trade in fresh tomatoes between the U.S. and our friend and neighbor Mexico can continue without imposing duties that would get passed on to U.S. shoppers in the form of higher prices. Thanks to Senator McSally’s hard work, we can preserve and grow the good jobs in Southern Arizona that depend on robust fresh produce trade, while ensuring Americans can continue to afford great-tasting Mexican-grown tomatoes. Today’s announcement is good news for Arizona and the country’s strong binational relationship with Mexico, and it serves as an important step as we move toward the adoption of USMCA and a free-trade framework for the 21st century.”
Fresh Produce Association of the Americas President Lance Jungmeyer: “We applaud Senator McSally for her leadership in defending the interests of consumers as well as her constituents. This draft agreement, while still in need of improvement, is a huge step toward ensuring that American consumers can enjoy the tomatoes they prefer without the added costs of duties.”
Nogales Mayor Auturo R. Garino: "This is not only great news for the model port of entry Nogales, Arizona, but the state of Arizona and the entire country. I would like to thank Senator McSally for her work on this critical issue."
Supervisor Bruce Bracker of Santa Cruz County: "The new agreement will provide a more stable and predictable environment for the industry. I hope that this address most of the concerns of the industry and keep the vibrant produce industry growing in Nogales and Santa Cruz County. I know that there are some refinements that we hope can be made and we will be sure to communicate our concerns during the public comment period. I am grateful for the tremendous support from the Governor, Senator McSally, Senator Sinema and the rest of the Congressional delegation on this critical issue.”