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Rubio, Ossoff, Colleagues Remind U.S. Trade Rep. Of Promise to Protect American Producers
Unfair trade practices by Mexico continue to harm American fruit and vegetable producers, especially growers in the Southeastern United States, and undermine our nation’s food security. There is strong, bipartisan support for federal action and relief from Mexico’s unfair trade practices.
U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), and colleagues sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to request an update on the status of the private sector trade advisory panel for Southeastern producers. Ambassador Tai committed to establish the panel in response to the bipartisan Florida Congressional Delegation’s August 2022 Section 301 petition regarding Mexico’s unfair trade practices.
- “Establishing the panel, and implementing its recommendations, will be critical to providing economic relief to fruit and vegetable growers and rural economies throughout the Southeastern United States. With the 2023-2024 growing season fast approaching, the panel must be convened as soon as possible.”
Joining Senators Rubio and Ossoff were Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) and Representatives Bilirakis (R-FL), Posey (R-FL), Donalds (R-FL), Salazar (R-FL), Rutherford (R-FL), Bishop (D-GA), Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Scott (R-GA), Ferguson (R-GA), Waltz (R-FL), Franklin (R-FL), Gimenez (R-FL), Buchanan (R-FL), Cammack (R-FL), Mast (R-FL), Soto (D-FL), Carter (R-GA), Dunn (R-FL), and Steube (R-FL).
Flashback… In 2022, Rubio led bipartisan members of the Florida congressional delegation to petition U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai to initiate a Section 301 investigation of fruit and vegetable imports from Mexico and secure trade relief for Florida growers. Ambassador Tai denied the request to initiate a Section 301 investigation but committed to working with the Florida delegation to develop solutions to hold Mexico accountable for its unfair trade practices, including through the establishment of a private sector trade advisory panel.
The full text of the letter is below.
Dear Ambassador Tai:
We write to request an update regarding the private sector industry advisory panel for Southeastern fruit and vegetable producers that you committed to establish last year. This commitment was made on October 23, 2022, in response to the Bipartisan Florida Congressional Delegation’s September 8, 2022, petition for relief pursuant to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.
As you know, Southeastern fruit and vegetable growers face enormous challenges, including unfair trade practices by Mexico that are displacing our growers from the domestic American market. We appreciate your recognition of these challenges and your interest in standing up for Southeastern growers. It is imperative that the panel be established and convened as expeditiously as possible so that Southeastern growers’ concerns can be heard directly by the Federal government.
The advisory panel will serve as a crucial forum for Southeastern growers to contribute their unique perspectives towards the development of a comprehensive set of policy recommendations. Establishing the panel, and implementing its recommendations, will be critical to providing economic relief to fruit and vegetable growers and rural economies throughout the Southeastern United States. With the 2023-2024 growing season fast approaching, the panel must be convened as soon as possible.
We look forward to collaborating with you in developing effective and lasting solutions to ensure our growers can continue supplying the American people with some of the best fresh produce in the world, bolstering our nation’s food security and competitiveness. We respectfully request a timely response to this inquiry.