President Trump campaigned on the promise of replacing NAFTA, which gained the support from many critics of the agreement. Now, it looks like USMCA will be the replacement, but there are still concerns that linger. In turn, Florida Republicans are urging the President to protect farmers from Mexican competition, which is an issue that has been prioritized since the beginning of the year.
Florida lawmakers, Rep. Vern Buchanan and Senator Marco Rubio, have rallied support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to call on Robert Lighthizer, the Trade Ambassador, to protect farmers as negotiations with Mexico continue to take place.
In a letter, the lawmakers expressed that “while the Mexican government has refused to include a mechanism to correct this growing imbalance in the USMCA text, we still believe the Administration must ensure that clear rules are in place to defend domestic seasonal and perishable produce from unfair trade practices.”
The lawmakers “strongly insist that the Administration address this issue in a way that gives confidence to all seasonal growers that the federal government can and will act to counter legitimate injury from unfair imports from Mexico or any other country.”
In January, the bipartisan “Defending Domestic Produce Production Act” was introduced, which called for easing certain thresholds that would allow sunshine state farmers to petition the Commerce Department and the U.S. International Trade Commission to conduct investigations on illegal subsidies and any instances of Mexican fruits and vegetables being dumped in the U.S. market.
In the letter, signed by a wide bipartisan number of Florida lawmakers, they asserted that “domestic seasonal and perishable produce growers deserve reasonable access to trade enforcement tools that are readily available to other agricultural and industrial producers in the U.S.” In addition, “such an outcome would be good for American fruit and vegetable farmers, good for American families, and good for the nation’s food security.”