For the first time in 26 years since the first tomato anti-dumping agreement was signed between Mexico and the United States, a representative group of the industry at a national level traveled to Washington, at a time when there is no friction or disagreement, with the aim of building solid and lasting relationships that support the sector, said Walberto Solorio Meza, president of the Baja California Agricultural Council (CABC).
He informed that one of the objectives was to have an approach with the new officials of the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture of President Joe Biden’s administration, as well as with a group of Senators from Arizona, Texas, Oregon, New Jersey and California, who have been proactive in supporting tomato growers in Mexico.
He stressed that all the meetings with the political players were to build relationships not only of rapprochement but also of an educational nature, with emphasis on the economic importance of tomato exports to their constituencies.
“We wanted to convey to them what our exports represent in terms of jobs, marketing services, transportation, distribution and sales in the retail and food supplier segments for their communities.”
Solorio Meza indicated that they were made aware of the economic importance for their districts of the imports made by the Mexican growers, in regular investments in agricultural equipment, machinery, packaging, plastics, seeds and inputs that are used in the Mexican countryside to produce.
The meetings highlighted the importance of tomato exports from Mexico in the trade and economic relationship, since the production of tomato exports from Mexico to the United States exceeds 2.3 billion dollars annually, which with the processing in the U.S., represent for the value chain in that country, more than 6.3 billion dollars annually.
“We had the opportunity to express that, by maintaining a healthy relationship, in which we are all productive, the companies in the sector have the opportunity to offer the workers, enough to have a significant retention, mitigating problems of illegal migration,” he said.
The president of the Agricultural Council of Baja California explained that international dumping is a tactic of penetration in international markets, which consists of setting prices below the real cost at which the company has made the export (the company selling to another country), making it possible for the prices of such product to be lower in the foreign country than in the country that manufactured them.
The intention, he said, behind this, is to gain market share and expel competitors; if a company has the capacity to assume such losses for a certain period of time, and other companies do not, the consequence is clear, the most powerful company will remain in the market and the rest will have to close.
Solorio Meza referred that Mexico has maintained an anti-dumping agreement with the American Union that avoids that, in the United States, Mexican growers pay a 17.5% tariff, which would completely take the sector out of the market.
“The agreement has established a series of controls that all growers who are signatories, we have fully complied with,” he emphasized.