Studies Uncover Unfair Trade Implications for Florida Growers
For years, specialty crop growers in Florida have fought against the rising economic pressure of subsidized fruit and vegetable imports from Mexico during the state’s winter production window. Even with NAFTA going away and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) taking its place, nothing appears to be changing for the better. According the Florida Strawberry Growers Association, new studies from UF/IFAS on USMCA confirm what growers have been saying and fighting against all along.
A recently published news release/industry alert sent from FSGA Executive Director Kenneth Parker points out the following:
- The first study, “Government Support in Mexican Agriculture” (Wu, Calle et. al.) published in 2018 by the Agriculture & Applied Economic Association, exposes the calculated and methodical subsidies used by the Mexican government to dismantle Florida’s seasonal produce industry.
- The second study, “Potential Economic Impacts in Florida of Increased Imports of Mexican Fruits and Vegetables” (Hodges, Court et. al.), issued on June 4, 2019, by the University of Florida, concluded, “The results of this analysis suggest that further increases in U.S. imports of fresh fruits and vegetables from Mexico will negatively impact tomato, strawberry, and bell pepper growers, which will result in broader economic impacts across the state.” The report further stated in conclusion that many other crops such as blueberries and cucumbers face similar challenges.
- USMCA failed to successfully include durable and effective trade relief solutions for “seasonal and perishable” fruits and vegetables. The compelling grower reports and research analysis all suggest that a remedy must be made available, or many more farms will cease to exist.
- “Defending Domestic Produce Production Act” (S.B. 16/H.R. 101) is the mechanism that will provide access to trade remedy procedures for “seasonal and perishable” fruit and vegetable growers. Every American grower should have the right to bring a case against unfairly traded imports that cause legitimate injury to our domestic producers. We are humbled by and grateful for the incredible bipartisan support by every member of the Florida delegation, that speaks volumes to the importance of this legislation.