Unfair Trade Practices Threaten Florida Growers
Over the past two decades, produce farmers in Mexico have enjoyed high triple-digit increases in exports to the United States under NAFTA. At the same time, many Florida growers have struggled to compete, some of them even going out of business.
Lisa Lochridge is the Director of Public Affairs at the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association. She says the U.S. Trade office opened an investigation back in January to look into unfair trade practices.
Lochridge… “For two decades, we really didn't have any kind of way to seek relief. We were hoping that at the USMCA pact, which replaced NAFTA would provide something for the specialty crop industry. And unfortunately the trade agreement that was signed did not have a provision for us. So that's why we've been very appreciative of the USTR saying, let's take a look at this.”
Lochridge says Mexican subsidies and unfair pricing are to blame.
Lochridge… “Florida farmers will be the first ones to tell you that therefore free trade, but it has to be fair trade. And they have seen the devastating effects to their operations, to their families, to their communities over these last 20 years. As a result of these, these surging volumes of cheap Mexican produce coming into the country.”
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