Florida lawmakers Marco Rubio and Carlos Curbelo took part in an event with the Miami-Dade County Farm Bureau on Wednesday, and it was focused on protecting specialty crop growers from Mexico’s competition.Both lawmakers are cosponsors of the “Agriculture Trade Improvement Act,” which looks to adjust the Tariff Act of 1930 so that it ensures “American specialty crop growers to request the imposition of antidumping or countervailing duties.”
Concerning the matter, Curbelo’s office commented that “Under current law, a trade remedy petition requires the support of either 25 percent of the domestic industry that produces a similar product or at least 50 percent of the support of all producers of a domestic like product that expressed a position. This legislation would have the equal authority of a seasonality/perishable provision in NAFTA that Curbelo has been encouraging the Administration to include in the final deal. If the bill becomes law, specialty crop growers would be better prepared to take on Mexico’s unfair and opaque trade practices.”
In addition, speaking to local farmers and getting their insight, both lawmakers made their case for their legislation.
Senator Rubio explained that “Today’s roundtable with the Miami-Dade County Farm Bureau was productive as we discussed the concerns of our Florida growers. Specifically we discussed how we can level the playing field for Florida’s fruit and vegetable growers who are unfairly competing with Mexico’s illegal dumping. One of the most important ways we can do that is by passing the Agricultural Trade Improvement Act of 2018, a bipartisan and bicameral bill that would allow Florida growers to denounce unfair trade practices by Mexico to the ITC and the U.S Department of Commerce.”
Representative Curbelo also added that “The United States benefits greatly when we trade with partners and allies that share our same democratic values, but it must also be fair. Unfair trade practices that put American growers at a disadvantage threaten our economy and food supplies. While recent renegotiations of NAFTA have not produced positive results for specialty crop growers yet, Senator Rubio and I are dedicated to utilizing every avenue to secure protections for growers here in South Dade and throughout the state of Florida. Our bipartisan and bicameral legislation is just one of the ways we will continue to apply pressure and ensure specialty crop growers remain a priority in negotiations.”