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Rubio Statement on Administration Announcement Regarding Florida’s Seasonal Growers

Sep 1, 2020 | Press Releases

Miami, FL — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued a statement after the United States Trade Representative (USTR), the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Agriculture released a report in response to the economic harm Florida’s seasonal and perishable produce growers have experienced as a result of Mexico’s unfair trade practices.
 
Last month, Rubio delivered testimony during the first of two virtual hearings on seasonal and perishable produce held by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. The hearing focused on foreign trade practices that are harming American growers, especially Florida farmers, of seasonal and perishable produce. The virtual hearings were held after Rubio led the Florida delegation in securing a promise from the Administration to further examine this issue, and formulate a plan that addresses the severe harm that Florida growers continue to experience at the hands of Mexico and other nations.
 
“For years, Florida’s fruit and vegetable growers have been harmed by unfair trade practices from Mexico, and the Administration made a promise to me and the entire Florida congressional delegation earlier this year to thoroughly examine these unreasonable trade practices, and do something about it,” Rubio said. “Today’s announcement is a first step in delivering on that promise.”
 
“The joint report issued by the United States Trade Representative, Department of Commerce, and Department of Agriculture, the testimony that Florida growers offered at the hearings, and the many comments submitted for the record all speak to the seriousness of the economic harm that Florida farmers are experiencing due to Mexico’s unfair trade practices,” Rubio continued.  “Growers have been in dire need of a timely, enforceable, and durable remedy. Mexico and other nations who have harmed Florida growers with impunity — even during a global pandemic — should consider themselves warned that I will remain engaged until this problem is fully and finally resolved. I will continue to work with Florida’s growers, the Administration, and other elected leaders as negotiations take place, the announced 201 investigation unfolds, as the other processes outlined in this plan proceed, and as further potential actions are considered. Florida’s growers are vital to our economy and national food supply chain. We will not permit our growers to continue suffering from unfair practices.”
 
“Senator Rubio has been out in front leading on this crucial issue on behalf of Florida’s growers of fresh produce since this process began,” Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA) President Mike Joyner said. “We deeply appreciate the leadership he and his hard-working staff have provided as champions for Florida specialty crop agriculture in working toward a trade remedy that is timely, effective and lasting.”
 
Background:
 
Rubio has been leading the effort on behalf of Florida’s growers who are harmed by unfair trade practices from Mexico. When the Senate approved the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement Implementation Act (USMCA), Rubio highlighted the shortcomings of the agreement as it relates to Florida’s seasonal growers.
 

“However, no trade deal is perfect, and while many American farmers and ranchers are celebrating, Florida’s fruit and vegetable growers were once again left to fend for themselves,” Rubio said. “Florida growers deserve an effective, enforceable, and durable solution to the problems NAFTA helped impose. While the USMCA will not improve their situation, I remain confident that this administration will continue to look for ways to address significant price distortions in the domestic seasonal and perishable produce market caused by a rising tide of unfair import competition.”