Late in September, the Department of Commerce issued a preliminary decision to scrap a 16-year-old trade agreement governing the import of Mexican-grown tomatoes into the United States. That might seem like an obscure and prosaic federal government action to most people, but to those of us who have watched the evolution of the tomato market over the last few decades, it is really a startling departure whose impact could be devastating.
I say startling because the agreement, which the U.S. and Mexican governments adopted when I was Secretary of Commerce, has been one of the models of successful trade policy. Startling also because, if the U.S. government ultimately adopts the preliminary decision, it will reward a segment of the U.S. tomato growing industry that has simply not kept up with the innovation and quality of its counterparts in Mexico, likely set off a spiral of retaliation that will hurt American exporters of other commodities, and most certainly drive up the price of tomatoes here. What’s more, it will pick a fight with Mexico, one of our biggest trading partners, that we don’t need and can easily avoid.
I can answer Kantor’s question with one word: Obamanomics.
Mexico is a friend, and must be bullied. American tomato growers might hire union labor in California, and must be coddled. And if they need subsidies, no problemo.
Poor Kantor. He is, and worked for, a centrist Chamber-of-Commerce-style Democrat. These vile prog thugs have taken over his party, leaving very little place for him.