Mexico says its tomato growers have signed and implemented a new agreement with the United States to end a dispute over trade in fresh tomatoes.
The agreement was proposed in early February and submitted to a public comment period.
Mexico's Economy Department said Monday that the final agreement has been signed with U.S. Department of Commerce officials. It said the agreement "provides a framework of certainty and stability" for its growers.
The agreement strengthens anti-dumping enforcement and resets minimum wholesale prices, after Florida tomato growers complained that Mexican producers were selling fresh tomatoes for less than the production cost.
Florida produces much of the nation's winter tomato supply, and Florida growers were asking the Commerce Department to end the fresh tomato importation trade agreement. The Florida growers claimed their Mexican counterparts have been "dumping" — selling for less than the cost of production — their product in the U.S., driving down prices and costing jobs. The growers' complaint had the support of farmworker representatives.
The impact of the agreement on consumers was unknown, but an Arizona-based trade association, which sponsored a pricing study, warned that if Mexican tomatoes withdrew from the U.S. market, the prices for some hothouse tomatoes would double from $2.50 a pound to nearly $5.
Mexico's tomato trade with the U.S. was worth more than $1.8 billion in 2011.