retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times this morning reports that since the US Department of Commerce is considering :whether to end a 16-year-old agreement between the United States and some Mexican growers that American tomato farmers say keeps the price of Mexican tomatoes so low that they can barely compete," Mexican tomato growers have said "they would agree to significant increases in the minimum price at which their products can enter the United States and to establish a system to bolster compliance and enforcement."

According to the Times, "To keep the agreement in place, the Mexican growers have proposed raising the minimum price at which they can sell a pound of tomatoes in the United States by 18 percent to 25 percent, depending on the type of tomato. And they pledged to extend the agreement to all growers in Mexico who export to the United States from the roughly 85 percent who are covered by it now."

However, the story also notes that not everyone in the US is enthused about keeping the US-Mexico agreement in place, and that Florida tomato growers, for example, would seem to think that this is not enough to raise the price of tomatoes sufficiently.

The writes about what could happen if an agreement is not reached: "Mexico has threatened to retaliate if the agreement ends, and more than 370 United States businesses and trade groups have sent letters to the Commerce Department warning of the costs of a trade war. Producers of things as diverse as potatoes and pork remember well the price of the last trade war with Mexico over trucking, when stiff tariffs ate into revenue and profits."
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