The Fresh Produce Association of the Americas (FPAA) has said that the negotiating parties in the US-Mexico tomato trade spat need to consider the “long-lasting damage” that could come from a full-blown trade war, according to a press release from the organisation.
“Tomatoes are the No. 1 food export item from Mexico to the United States,” said Lance Jungmeyer, president of FPAA, which is based in Nogales, Arizona.
“In this era of global trade, the US government should not put up a trade barrier with Mexico, our nation’s No. 2 overall trading partner.”
Jungmeyer said not only is there a potential to disrupt trade, but consumers may find it more expensive to buy tomatoes if Florida is successful in pressuring for a higher floor price.
“In the end, consumers will only end up paying more for tomatoes. Retailers will pay more and they will be forced to pass on those costs to hard-working families,” Jungmeyer explained.
Aside from the pricing issue, Jungmeyer pointed out that about 5 per cent of US residents have jobs that are tied directly to Mexico which equates to 6m jobs.
Furthermore he said US distribution companies, not just in the border states of Arizona, California and Texas, rely on Mexican tomatoes.
“A trade war would mean not only a loss of US jobs throughout the US, but ironically it could mean consumers end up paying higher prices for the reduced offerings of tomatoes on supermarket shelves,” he explained.
“At this time, we need cool heads to prevail,” Jungmeyer added. “Some Florida tomato growers are trying to take advantage of the upcoming US Presidential elections to use this as a wedge issue.
“The Florida and Mexican tomato industries must co-exist for the long-haul, and using the election as a political divider is short-sighted.”