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Prices could rise drastically if U.S. puts tariffs on Mexican tomatoes | AZ Central

Get ready for more expensive salads: Prices for fresh tomatoes could almost double if the U.S. slaps tariffs on imported Mexican tomatoes, according to a new Arizona State University estimate.

Consumers across the U.S. could pay 40 to 85 percent more for vine-ripe and other fresh tomatoes if punitive duties, scheduled to start taking effect early next month, are levied on Mexican tomatoes, according the report, which was commissioned by a produce-import group. Large volumes of Mexican tomatoes are imported at Nogales.

The duties are set to go into effect May 7 if the U.S. Commerce Department follows through with threats to withdraw from a current trade pact, called the Tomato Suspension Agreement, which suspended an investigation that Mexico was dumping tomatoes below their cost of production.

Prices could rise 40 percent from May to December, according to the analysis by economists led by Dr. Timothy Richards, the Morrison chair of agribusiness at ASU in Mesa. Prices could escalate up to 85 percent or more during cooler months, when there are fewer domestic supplies of tomatoes, according to the estimate.

The prices of canned tomatoes and those that end up in sauces wouldn’t be nearly as affected because of warmer-weather growing seasons in California and many other states, Richards said in an interview.

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Prices could rise drastically if U.S. puts tariffs on Mexican tomatoes.

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