The United States reached a deal to suspend tariffs on tomatoes from Mexico and implement import restrictions demanded by Florida growers to protect their industry.
The agreement, which also ends a dumping probe by the Trump administration, is expected to head off calamity for the Mexican tomato export industry, the world’s largest. It’s also likely to avert spikes in prices at U.S. supermarkets and restaurants.
The deal was reached around midnight on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., a group of Mexican agriculture industry associations said in a joint statement. It represented the final opportunity to end the dumping probe and allow for 30 days of public comment.
The pact pledges to lift a 17.6 percent provisional tariff that went into effect in May, will allow Mexican producers to get back money that already had been deposited, sets reference prices on tomato imports and includes a requirement that organic tomatoes be priced 40 percent higher than varieties that aren’t.
The lack of an deal could have led to even higher duties of 25 percent.
Making the duties permanent threatened to hit the Mexican agriculture industry, which ships about $2 billion of tomatoes to the U.S. annually, one of its biggest fruit and vegetable exports along with avocados.
Florida growers had said the nation was unfairly undercutting American farmers on price, a charge Mexico has denied.