Free Trade

FL Farmers Target Inexpensive Mexican Tomatoes

Why let consumers choose?

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An otherwise obscure ruling by the Department of Commerce in a 16-year-old case involving tomatoes has prompted warnings of a trade war with Mexico and taken on outsize election-year significance in the crucial swing state of Florida.

The dispute pits Florida's agricultural lobby against the Mexican government and a coalition of angry growers south of the border.

Depending on who you believe, Thursday was either a bad day for lovers of both free trade and vine-ripened romas — a prelude to higher prices — or the first step in the renaissance of a U.S. tomato industry that has been in decline.