Siding with him were numerous U.S. agricultural and retail organizations including the National Restaurant Assn. and Wal-Mart.
"A potential trade disruption with Mexico could have a devastating impact on U.S. farmers, manufacturers, and service providers and their employees who collectively export hundreds of billions of dollars in goods and services annually to Mexico," the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wrote in a letter last month to acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank.
The Florida growers, meanwhile, had their own booster club, including a bipartisan group of Florida legislators, who said in letters to Blank that the "predatory actions" of Mexican tomato growers were hurting domestic production. A similarly bipartisan group of Arizonans, led by Republican Sen. John McCain, backed the Mexican tomato.
The Floridians welcomed the Commerce move.
The "preliminary decision is welcome news to domestic growers and the workers who have suffered under an outdated and failed agreement governing trade in fresh tomatoes with Mexico," Reggie Brown, executive director of the Florida Tomato Exchange, said in a statement.