Bipartisan letter opposes trade barrier proposal impacting US businesses

A bipartisan group of 23 Senators and House Members sent a strong message to the U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer reiterating opposition to any attempts to reinsert a seasonal anti-dumping provision into implementing language of the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, according to the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas.

The 23 Congressional Members representing Arizona, Texas, and California wrote, “Using USMCA as a vehicle for pursuing seasonal agriculture trade remedies risks pitting different regions of the country against each other.” The letter goes on to cite the numerous products that could be subject to price spikes, including watermelons, bell peppers, and blueberries.

"The seasonal provision was first proposed during negotiations of a new NAFTA where it was solidly rejected by Mexico, Canada and many U.S. agriculture groups, based on the fact it would create a precedent that could lead to tit-for-tat protectionist measures between the countries," said FPAA President Lance Jungmeyer.

"Despite the fact that a seasonality provision was not part of the USMCA signed by the three countries, a small but vocal group of companies from the southeast U.S. continue to look for avenues to advance the unpopular proposal in an attempt give their commodities a competitive advantage in the market at the expense of consumers and U.S. businesses in the fresh produce supply chain," he added.

Tens and tens of thousands of jobs depend on produce imports from Mexico, noted the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, which added that in tomatoes alone, the University of Arizona recently showed that 33,000 jobs across the U.S. are supported directly and indirectly.

“We applaud this bipartisan coalition for recognizing the value that our industry brings to this nation in terms of jobs and economic impact,” Jungmeyer said. “Inserting special trade law changes for seasonal produce in the trade agreement would invite our trading partners to revise protections for their industries, and it would result in decreased trade in agriculture across the board.”

For more information:
Lance Jungmeyer
Fresh Produce Association of the Americas
Ph: +1 (520) 287-2707

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