In the past decades, trade deals with Mexico have left Florida farmers frustrated. That continued after the negotiation of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement. Now, a bipartisan group of lawmakers wants relief for the state’s vital agriculture industry. US senator Marco Rubio and Rick Scott and US representatives Vern Buchanan and Al Lawson have sponsored the Defending Domestic Produce Production Act to provide it.
Floridapolitics.com quoted Rubio s saying: “We must ensure the viability of Florida’s fruit and vegetable growers, who for years have struggled to compete with dumped and unfairly priced Mexican imports. I firmly believe that food security is national security, and that to ensure our nation’s food security we must defend our food producers from malicious trade practices that are intended to undermine our self-reliance.”
Florida officials have pushed for provisions for seasonal crops since the USMCA was signed. The proposed legislation aims to guarantee that through statute. Specifically, it would make sure US trade law is applicable to seasonal fruit and vegetable growers to petition the Commerce Department and International Trade Commission to secure relief from unfair trade practices. The law now requires petitioners to demonstrate year-round damage for help.
Sarasota Republican and chair of the Florida Delegation Buchanan: “Illegal seasonal dumping and unfair Mexican trade practices are crippling Florida’s fruit and vegetable growers. It’s time to level the playing field and protect hardworking Florida farmers. Our bill would do just that.”
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