Mexico growers see red in US trade spat
By James Politi in Washington and Adam Thomson in Mexico City
The US and Mexico are drifting towards a nasty trade dispute over tomatoes, after the US commerce department sided with Florida growers who had demanded the suspension of a 16-year-old deal that maintained low prices on Mexican imports.
The decision, which provoked an angry reaction in Mexico, raises the spectre of a trade spat erupting between the neighbours, though there is still time for the US to change its mind or for the two to reach a negotiated solution.
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“There certainly is a risk of retaliation and other trade implications,” said Kevin Richards, director of regulatory relations at the American Farm Bureau, the main lobbying group for US agricultural producers in Washington. “I don’t think we’re there yet.”
The ruling by the commerce department ended, on a preliminary basis, a 1996 pact that suspended a US anti-dumping investigation into Mexican tomatoes and set the price for their imports.
But the decision by the International Trade Administration, an agency housed within the commerce department, will not be final until the middle of next year, leaving some room for manoeuvre.
Francisco Rosenzweig, Mexico’s undersecretary for international trade on Friday said that Mexico was “profoundly surprised...