Mexican tomato producers make new offer in U.S. trade spat

Credit: REUTERS/Daniel Becerril

MEXICO CITY, May 23 (Reuters) - Mexican tomato growers have submitted new proposals to the U.S. Commerce Department to govern trade of their products in a bid to end a dispute that led to tariffs being slapped on Mexican tomato exports to the United States this month.

In a statement on Thursday, the tomato growers said they had updated an offer issued last month to the United States. That offer failed to head off the spat with American rivals looking to restrict supply of Mexican tomatoes to the U.S. market.

Tariffs of 17.5 percent on Mexican tomatoes came into force after the United States allowed a so-called suspension agreement from 2013 to lapse just over two weeks ago.

For six years that agreement halted an anti-dumping investigation sought by U.S. producers against Mexican growers.

Mexico's tomato growers were required to make a formal proposal on May 22.

The latest offer includes new reference prices with increases of up to 180 percent for more categories of tomatoes, and expands a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) marketing order to cover all types of tomato, the statement said.

It also includes the terms under which defective product can be returned to Mexico, among other proposals, the statement said.

The step follows a U.S. decision last week to lift tariffs on Mexican and Canadian steel and aluminum.

(Reporting by Dave Graham and Sharay Angulo Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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