The US Commerce Department issues a final decision to end a bilateral tomato pact with Mexico that has been in place since 1996.
The end of the agreement could pave the way for US growers to seek tariffs on Mexican tomatoes. In turn, Mexico could retaliate by imposing duties on $1.9 billion worth of US exports which could evolve into a trade war between the two neighbouring countries.
Opinions on the tomato pact are long divided. The world's largest retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc. wants to keep the accord in place, arguing it keeps prices stable. According to Mexico's ambassador to the US Arturo Sarukhan, the decision to end the pact " seems one-sided, and seems to be dictated by politics rather than by policy".
However, executive director of the Florida Tomato Exchange Reggie Brown says the Mexicans "simply want to protect the sweetheart deal that they've enjoyed for far too long", and US growers will be happy to see the agreement come to an end.
Mexico is the US' third largest trading partner.