SAN ANTONIO — Greenhouse tomato specialist NatureSweet has submitted a request to the Department of Commerce for a "Changed Circumstance Review," which would release certain greenhouse-grown specialty tomatoes from coverage under the 2019 Suspension Agreement on Fresh Tomatoes from Mexico.
“Our mission is to transform the lives of agricultural workers in North America,” said Skip Hulett, NatureSweet’s general counsel. “Constant threats of prohibitive duties on products the Suspension Agreement was not intended to impact, create instability in the market and significant uncertainty for workers across the supply chain. Government policies and practices that unwittingly or purposefully hurt the specialty tomato industry hurt agricultural workers.”
NatureSweet’s specialty tomatoes do not belong in the same market category as “commodity” tomatoes, according to the company.
“Economic research shows that NatureSweet’s tomatoes occupy a different economic market than rounds and romas and are not considered competitors in the minds of consumers. NatureSweet innovates new products and growing methods and has developed new ways of marketing tomatoes. Their products, growing methods and ways of doing business are fundamentally different from those of traditional US growers who have resisted in investing in greenhouse technology and other innovative techniques.”
Specialty tomatoes have a positive impact on the US economy and imports of greenhouse-grown specialty tomatoes are not contributing to any injury experienced by US growers, according to NatureSweet.
“Greenhouse-grown specialty tomatoes contribute to positive outcomes that enhance U.S. food security while filling a void in consumer demand at prices well-above any other imported tomatoes. Simply put — these tomatoes are not competing with US-grown tomatoes.”