Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tomatoes Key to Swing State Election?

     Barak Obama's Commerce Dept. has given preliminary approval to terminating an tomato trade agreement between the US and Mexico that's been in effect for the last 16 years.  The impetus behind the decision is not the complaints of US consumers, who are happy to have good tomatoes available year around for reasonable prices, but Florida tomato growers faced with Mexican competition.  The move is opposed by a number of industry and retail groups in the US and Mexican trade officials vow retaliation if it comes to pass.  This Chicago Tribune story provides some of the details.  Florida growers' and American importers' concerns are addressed in this item and this one.  Fresh tomatoes are Mexico's number one export to the US.
In an election year, trade issues seem to have come to the forefront in the political rhetoric of both presidential candidates. The incumbent, of course, has the wherewithal to actually do something to mollify some constituents at the expense of others. While he stands to gain the support of influential agriculturalists in an important state, it's unlikely that his base will change their votes over an increase in the cost of an important salad and spaghetti ingredient for the rest of the country.

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