(May 2) WASHINGTON, D.C. — A proposed undertaking involving floor prices on U.S. tomatoes, which would have made Canada’s anti-dumping action against the U.S. tomato industry vanish, has itself disappeared.

Hopes still remain high that the legal wrangling will disappear because the two sides have agreed in principle to another settlement, said Ed Beckman, president of the Fresno-based California Tomato Committee.

“It’s working through the system, like any matter involving a legal action,” said Beckman, who did not disclose the nature of the latest proposal.

AGREEMENT

Beckman did say, however, that parties on both sides of the border have reached an agreement in principle to bring the legal fight to a halt.

“We came to an agreement quite some time ago that the trade actions are over with,” Beckman said. “It’s just a matter of logistics. It’s not as easy as you think. You’ve initiated a legal action, and you can’t just quit.”

Telephone calls to Denton Hoffman, general manager of the Leamington-based Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers Association and chairman of the Canadian Tomato Trade Alliance, were not returned.

IN CANADIAN HANDS

The ultimate power in bringing the suit to a conclusion lies in the hands of the Canadian International Trade Tribunal, Beckman said.

“It’s like when we put in the undertaking, you have to get powers of attorney in every step of the process,” Beckman said. “Then, once you have the paperwork in, you work on the actual logistics at the tribunal.

“They could simply go ahead and accept the petition to withdraw (the suit) or wait until June 24.”

That, he added, is when the tribunal is scheduled to meet to determine where the suit would go.

“Since this is a judicial procedure we’re going through, it has to be in the hands of the tribunal,” Beckman said. “You don’t lobby a judicial proceeding. If you do, there might be some backlash.”

Delaying the matter until the tribunal’s hearing date would be a worst-case scenario, Beckman said.

“That would be unfortunate,” he said. “We don’t need to continue going down this path. Every day you get closer to a trial, tempers tend to fly.”