WASHINGTON— U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park, Fla., a member of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, issued the following statement on the Department of Commerce’s decision to reopen an investigation into unfair tomato trade practices by Mexico. The move comes after Murphy and a bipartisan group of Members of Congress pushed the Trump Administration to withdraw from an agreement with Mexico, citing these unfair trade practices. Florida tomato producers had shared data with Congressional leaders that showed that this agreement has not protected U.S. producers and thereby caused Mexico's share of the U.S. tomato market to drastically rise from 32 to 54 percent. The Florida Tomato Exchange is headquartered in Florida’s Seventh Congressional District, which Murphy represents.
“I’m very pleased the Administration recognized our concern that Mexico’s trade violations are hurting tomato producers in Florida. These irresponsible actions by Mexico cause unfair competition and threaten our state’s place as the top tomato producer in the country. As a member of the Ways & Means Subcommittee on Trade, I’ll keep working with the Administration to improve trade relationships with Canada and Mexico. I’ll also keep fighting for smart trade policies and agreements that benefit Florida’s workers and farmers and expand markets for our small businesses.”
Florida is the nation’s largest producer of fresh tomatoes. With almost every southern county in the state cultivating tomatoes, Florida produces virtually all the fresh-market, field-grown tomatoes in the U.S. from October through June each year, and accounts for about half of all fresh tomatoes produced domestically. Florida ships more than 1.1 billion pounds of fresh tomatoes a year to the U.S., Canada and abroad, and employs roughly 33,000 workers.