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Feb 3, 2013 2:00 PM by AP Posted by Tony Spehar

Proposed agreement squashes US, Mexico tomato war

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Commerce Department has announced a proposed agreement on fresh tomatoes imported from Mexico that would strengthen anti-dumping enforcement and reset minimum wholesale prices.

The agreement with Mexico's tomato industry would suspend an investigation initiated after Florida tomato growers complained that Mexican producers were selling fresh tomatoes for less than the production cost.

The proposal would replace a pact that's been in place for 16 years. The Commerce Department has just released a draft of the agreement for public comment.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says it allow the U.S. tomato industry "to compete on a level playing field."

U.S.-produced fresh and processed tomatoes account for more than $2 billion in cash receipts. Mexico's tomato trade with the U.S. was worth more than $1.8 billion in 2011.

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