WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has re-introduced legislation with U.S. Representatives Vern Buchanan (FL-16), and Al Lawson (FL-05) to help Florida fruit and vegetable growers combat Mexico’s unfair trade practices. Specifically, the Defending Domestic Produce Production Act would ease certain thresholds to allow Florida farmers to petition the Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission to investigate illegal subsidies and dumping of Mexican fruits and vegetables in the U.S. market. Current law requires petitioners to demonstrate harm as measured from a nationwide and year-round perspective. This bill would acknowledge the unique circumstances of seasonal fruit and vegetable producers who are directly harmed by Mexico’s practices in various geographic regions during different seasons, including Florida growers during the winter months.
Senator Rubio originally introduced this bill in September of 2018 with Senator Bill Nelson.
“We must do all we can to ensure a level playing field for Florida’s fruit and vegetable growers,” Rubio said. “Absent any effective agreement with the Mexican government covering seasonal and perishable produce imports, I’m proud to support this bill to increase opportunities for Florida growers to successfully seek relief from the illegal dumping of Mexican winter produce into our domestic markets.”
“Our beleaguered growers continue to be harmed by Mexico’s unfair subsidies and illegal seasonal dumping,” Buchanan said. “This legislation will level the playing field for a vital industry to Florida’s economy.”
“Mexico’s dumping into our nation’s agriculture market is problematic, and below-cost produce has put Florida’s farmers at a disadvantage,” Lawson said. “This issue is crippling Florida’s agriculture industry, and the Defending Domestic Produce Production Act will work to protect Florida’s farmers.”
A copy of the bill is available here.
- In August 2017, ahead of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations in Mexico City, Rubio and Nelson urged U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to propose measures that would protect Florida agriculture from unfair trade practices.
- In September 2017, Rubio also laid out Florida’s priorities for NAFTA renegotiations and urged Ambassador Lighthizer to work to construct a new trade deal with our North American partners that modernizes and builds on the successes of the previous agreement while also securing critical changes for Florida.
- In April 2018, as NAFTA renegotiations continued, Rubio and Nelson urged the Senate Finance Committee to support Florida farmers.
- In July 2018, as Secretary of State Pompeo prepared for his first trip to Mexico, Rubio asked him to impress the importance of fair trade in seasonal produce on his Mexican counterparts.
- In August 2018, as the U.S. worked to finalize a NAFTA deal with Mexico, the senators renewed their calls with Ambassador Lighthizer, to protect Florida growers in a final agreement.
- In October 2018, Rubio hosted a roundtable with members of the Miami-Dade County Farm Bureau to discuss Mexico’s unfair agricultural trade practices.
–The Office of U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
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