This week the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced that it will pursue avenues to assist the Southeast seasonal produce industry in coordination with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) after members of Congress requested an examination of certain issues in a Sept. 8, 2022, Section 301 petition.
The Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association (FFVA) released a statement following USTR’s response.
Today’s action by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is a positive step toward securing trade relief for the Southeast produce industry and will help to ensure American families are not dependent on foreign imports for their produce supplies during the winter and spring months of the year.
FFVA thanks USTR for its commitment to work with the Florida industry and petitioning Florida Congressional offices to address the unfair Mexican trade practices raised in the Section 301 petition, including the Mexican government’s decades-long export targeting scheme for seasonal and perishable products.
Although the administration for now is not formally beginning a Section 301 investigation given the limited 45-day review period, it has made clear it recognizes the urgent need for immediate, effective and enforceable solutions, which we believe includes all trade relief options. We thank the administration for moving forward promptly with certain action steps related to Mexico’s export targeting practices and for engaging in other efforts to deliver effective trade relief.
We are also grateful for the leadership shown by the bipartisan Florida Congressional Delegation in filing the Section 301 petition. The delegation has long been a champion for Florida’s farmers and remains steadfast in its continued work to secure the relief sought by the petition.
We look forward to working closely with the USTR, others in the administration, and the bipartisan Florida delegation on near-term solutions that address the Section 301 trade concerns and stem the onslaught of unfair seasonal and perishable produce from Mexico.