Nikki Fried Joins Florida Delegation’s Call for U.S. Trade Rep to Investigate Mexican Fruit, Vegetable Importers

Last week, state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried wrote to U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai backing the Florida congressional’s call to “conduct an investigation into the flood of imported seasonal and perishable agricultural products from Mexico.”

Fried pointed to a report from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) which shows “the decades-long economic harm to Florida growers due to the expansion of Mexican imports, causing estimated lost sales of 10-20 percent, 17,408-34,816 lost jobs, and a negative impact of $1.94 – $3.89 billion to the economy overall.”

“As you can imagine, after experiencing losses year after year due to such unfair foreign trade practices with no remedies accessible to our seasonal producers, we have seen more and more of our farms shutter their operations. Without relief, the future of our state’s second largest industry and the 2.4 million jobs it supports is at risk,” Fried wrote Tai. “Beyond the negative economic impact, this also poses a risk to the strength and security of our domestic food supply – a troubling matter of national security. Given the Biden administration’s commitment to bolstering domestic supply chains, supporting American agriculture, and combatting unfair trade, we look forward to continuing to work with your office and other federal partners to provide timely and effective relief for our domestic seasonal produce industry and are hopeful that you will move forward with a Section 301 investigation as bipartisan members of the Florida Congressional Delegation have requested.”

Earlier in the month, the Florida congressional delegation, led by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, D-Fla., called on Tai “to initiate a Section 301 investigation of fruit and vegetable imports from Mexico, and to secure trade relief for Florida growers.”

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., and U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., Kat Cammack, R-Fla., Kathy Castor, D-Fla., Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, D-Fla., Ted Deutch, D-Fla., Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., Byron Donalds, R-Fla., Neal Dunn, R-Fla., Scott Franklin, R-Fla., Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla., Brian Mast, R-Fla., Bill Posey, R-Fla., John Rutherford, R-Fla., Maria Elvira Salazar, R-Fla., Darren Soto, D-Fla., Greg Steube, R-Fla., Michael Waltz, R-Fla., Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., Dan Webster, R-Fla., and Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., signed the letter.

Kevin Derby
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