The tomato suspension agreement debate between Florida and Mexican importers should not become a presidential campaign topic.

But it could.

After all, Florida is the largest state in the toss-up category, and both President Obama and Gov. Romney will work all angles to garner votes there.

We would like to see the issue decided on economic merits — not political — but those with stakes in the game have to battle in the political theater.

In that light, the Texas Produce Association’s decision to add the word “International” to its name recognizes the state’s growing influence as a Mexican produce importer, and its changing spot in the market and the political landscape.

While Texas was once a top fruit and vegetable producing state, it seems growers and shippers there realize they have more in common with U.S.-based members of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, Nogales, Ariz., than those of the Florida Tomato Exchange.

TPA and FPAA started a joint spring meeting in 2011 to address border issues, for example.

As part of TPA’s name change, it started the Border Issues Management Program to address the business and policy issues associated with stronger movement of fresh produce through Texas from Mexico.

More details should emerge after the association’s annual meeting Aug. 15-17.

Members of the new TIPA may see themselves on different sides of political issues than in previous years, but they recognize they have to be on the right side of business issues to remain relevant and profitable.

Did The Packer get it right? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion.