ICYMI: Let’s Protect our South Dade Growers from Unfair Trade Practices
Let’s Protect our South Dade Growers from Unfair Trade Practices
When negotiations began, I knew the Florida delegation would need to work together to encourage the Administration to include the seasonality/perishable provision throughout the entire renegotiation process. Serving on the Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over trade issues, allowed me to personally make the case for our community to Administration officials for the need to provide our specialty crop growers with a fair shot at competing against Mexico. I also led a number of bipartisan efforts urging the Administration and U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Lighthizer, to include the provision and consider the well-being of our South Florida growers who are being devastated by Mexico’s unfair and opaque subsidies and trade practices.
Given the inevitable consequences of the Administration’s failure to secure the specialty crop provision in the final agreement, I decided Congress needs to step in. Together with Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson, and my fellow House colleague Representative Al Lawson Jr., I introduced bicameral, bipartisan legislation that — if passed— would achieve the same results as the seasonality/perishable provision. Our Agricultural Trade Improvement Act of 2018 would amend the Tariff Act of 1930 and make it easier for our specialty crop growers to petition a trade remedy against Mexico’s injurious behavior and compete in a free and fair way. This legislation allows our South Florida growers to sell their specialty crops at fair and competitive prices in our domestic market and protects them from unfair trade practices. Since the bill has the equal authority of a specialty/perishable provision in NAFTA, it would ensure our growers have a chance to compete.
I still hope the Administration will reconsider bringing back the specialty crop provision we’ve been fighting for the last year and a half — and I won’t stop fighting to remind them of it at every opportunity between now and when Congress initiates its process to consider the final deal. In the event we’re unsuccessful, I am ready to urge Congress to step in to protect our South Dade agriculture community. The Agricultural Trade Improvement Act is our battle cry, and I’m determine to make sure the Administration, the unfair competitors in Mexico, and my colleagues in the House and Senate hear us loud and clear.
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