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Rubio, Colleagues Petition USTR To Protect Florida Growers From Mexico’s Unfair Trade Practices

Sep 9, 2022 | Press Releases

For more than 20 years, Mexico has leveraged heavy subsidies and low wages in a scheme to conduct a “conquest of external markets” and displace Florida’s seasonal and perishable agricultural industry from the domestic U.S. market. 

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Representative Al Lawson (D-FL) led bipartisan members of the Florida congressional delegation to petition U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to initiate a Section 301 investigation of fruit and vegetable imports from Mexico, and to secure trade relief for Florida growers.                                                        

  • “The Biden Administration has affirmed its intention to protect and reinvigorate critical supply chains within the U.S., including agricultural supply chains. Mexico’s export targeting scheme, which is affecting U.S.-grown produce during the winter and spring months, is a direct threat to this objective. As this petition discusses, and as various government entities, including the U.S. Trade Representative, have confirmed, seasonal and perishable industries such as Florida’s generally do not enjoy access to trade remedies. The provisions of Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, however, are uniquely suited to investigate Mexico’s trade-distorting practices and policies and provide urgently needed relief to Florida’s growers.” – members of the Florida congressional delegation 

Apart from Senator Rubio and Representative Lawson, the members who signed the petition are: Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), Representatives Bill Posey (R-FL), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), Gregory Steube (R-FL), Neal Dunn (R-FL), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), John H. Rutherford (R-FL), Scott Franklin (R-FL), Byron Donalds (R-FL), Brian Mast (R-FL), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Kat Cammack (R-FL), Daniel Webster (R-FL), Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-FL), Carlos Gimenez (R-FL), Darren Soto (D-FL), Michael Waltz (R-FL), Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Kathy Castor (D-FL), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), and Ted Deutch (D-FL).

Want more? Read the cover letter below and the full petition here.

Dear Ambassador Tai:                                                        

We are filing this petition under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 to request the administration to conduct an investigation into the flood of imported seasonal and perishable agricultural products from Mexico, specifically fruits and vegetables grown with subsidized horticultural infrastructure and other forms of Mexican government support, which over the last two decades have burdened and restricted U.S. commerce. The contents of this petition make clear that Mexico’s scheme to displace Florida’s seasonal and perishable agricultural industry from the U.S. market is an unreasonable trade practice that constitutes export targeting, threatens Florida’s seasonal and perishable agricultural industry, endangers the long-term food security of the U.S., and raises the prospect that Mexico will become an unchallenged hegemon in the winter and spring fruit and vegetable supply chain, with the ability to set market prices that harm American consumers.                                                           

The Biden Administration has affirmed its intention to protect and reinvigorate critical supply chains within the U.S., including agricultural supply chains. Mexico’s export targeting scheme, which is affecting U.S.-grown produce during the winter and spring months, is a direct threat to this objective. As this petition discusses, and as various government entities, including the U.S. Trade Representative, have confirmed, seasonal and perishable industries such as Florida’s generally do not enjoy access to trade remedies. The provisions of Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, however, are uniquely suited to investigate Mexico’s trade-distorting practices and policies and provide urgently needed relief to Florida’s growers.                                                        

As you know, the provisions of the amended Trade Act of 1974 (the Trade Act) give you broad authority to investigate and redress unreasonable trade practices that burden and restrict U.S. commerce. The Trade Act also sets broad criteria for interested persons to file petitions under Section 301. The Bipartisan Florida Congressional Delegation is a group of U.S. Members of Congress, each of whom represents U.S. workers, farmers, family-owned businesses, and other businesses injured by Mexico’s unreasonable practices and policies.                                                       

We respectfully submit this petition to redress the untenable situation imposed by Mexico’s practices and policies, and to seek relief.                                                      

Sincerely,