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Rubio Welcomes USTR Field Hearing in Florida on Seasonal Produce Dumping

Mar 5, 2020 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) released the following statement after the United States Trade Representative announced an April 7 field hearing in Plant City, Florida to hear firsthand from Florida’s seasonal and perishable producers on trade-distorting policies that contribute to unfair pricing in the U.S. market and cause harm to Florida’s fruit and vegetable industry.

In January, U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer informed Rubio and his colleagues that his office would take various actions, including holding field hearings, in response to the  challenges posed to Florida’s fruit and vegetable growers. 

“The Trump Administration understands Florida’s fruit and vegetable growers deserve an effective, enforceable, and durable solution to address significant price distortions in the domestic seasonal and perishable produce market caused by a rising tide of unfair import competition,” Rubio said. “I am encouraged to see the administration taking the next step to ensure Florida growers are not left to fend for themselves in the face of unfair competition from Mexican producers.” 

Rubio is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship and a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Background:

  • In August 2017, ahead of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations in Mexico City, Rubio and Nelson urged U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to propose measures that would protect Florida agriculture from unfair trade practices.
  • In September 2017, Rubio also laid out Florida’s priorities for NAFTA renegotiations and urged Ambassador Lighthizer to work to construct a new trade deal with our North American partners that modernizes and builds on the successes of the previous agreement while also securing critical changes for Florida.
  • In April 2018, as NAFTA renegotiations continued, Rubio and Nelson urged the Senate Finance Committee to support Florida farmers.
  • In July 2018, as Secretary of State Pompeo prepared for his first trip to Mexico, Rubio asked him to impress the importance of fair trade in seasonal produce on his Mexican counterparts.
  • In August 2018, as the U.S. worked to finalize a NAFTA deal with Mexico, the senators renewed their calls with Ambassador Lighthizer to protect Florida growers in a final agreement.
  • In October 2018, Rubio hosted a roundtable with members of the Miami-Dade County Farm Bureau to discuss Mexico’s unfair agricultural trade practices.
  • In January 2019, Rubio and Reps. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and Al Lawson (D-FL) re-introduced the Defending Domestic Produce Production Act.
  • In April 2019, Rubio and his colleagues raised concerns to USTR regarding the lack of effective trade enforcement for seasonal produce in USMCA.
  • In January 2020, USTR Lighthizer reiterated his commitment to reviewing potential remedies to the ongoing lack of effective trade enforcement for seasonal produce.
  • In January 2020, Rubio expressed confidence the administration would address significant price distortions in the domestic seasonal and perishable produce market.