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ICYMI: Rubio: Don’t Bend to Mexican Intimidation Over Trade

Oct 14, 2022 | Press Releases

Don’t bend to Mexican intimidation tactics over trade
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
October 14, 2022
Washington Examiner

Mexico’s government is bullying American citizens in an attempt to influence U.S. government policy…. 24 American bulk commodity trade groups [recently] warned [Ambassador Katherine Tai] that opening an investigation into Mexico’s unfair trade practices could result in retaliatory tariffs…. Mexico’s finance minister had sent a similar letter just days before, implying a coordinated scheme of intimidation….

Years ago, when international markets were relatively stable, it may have been possible for Mexico to replace its imports of American wheat, soybeans, pork, or other products. That is no longer the case…. Many experts are predicting famines of unprecedented scale across the global south due to shortages of nonperishable staples such as wheat, barley, and rice.

The idea that Mexico would limit its access to American bulk commodities in an environment of such scarcity is ridiculous. So why bluff now? Mexico rightly fears that it will finally be held accountable for its self-described “conquest” of the American fruit and vegetable market. Its threats come in response to a trade petition filed by a bipartisan group of Florida lawmakers, including myself, urging the Biden administration to investigate Mexico’s policies and trade practices.

Mexico does not want those practices to be challenged nor brought to light, because they are a source of political leverage…. But as we learned during the pandemic, overreliance on foreign nations for basic necessities is a severe vulnerability…. Without domestic food production, the United States would have no buffer against the instability of the international market. Mexico would be free to extort Americans at will by hiking prices on seasonal and perishable goods….

Mexico accuses us of seeking to bypass “appropriate channels.” However, the Florida delegation is requesting a Section 301 investigation because it is the only trade tool capable of recognizing and relieving injury to seasonal and perishable growers. Anti-dumping and countervailing duty provisions cannot be effectively applied to fruit and vegetable sectors, and the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement does not contain provisions to address injury to seasonal and perishable growers.

In my conversations with Ambassador Tai, she has repeatedly demonstrated her understanding of the situation. She should call Mexico’s bluff and accept our petition for a 301 investigation to hold Mexico accountable for its actions…. We cannot allow foreign governments to bully U.S. citizens.

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