Bipartisan Florida congressional delegation cautions against unfair trade practices from Mexico

Miami South Beach Lincoln road street produce fruit stand stall
The group says produce imports from Mexico threaten Florida farmers.

A bipartisan group of Florida’s congressional delegation is asking U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to conduct an investigation into important agricultural products from Mexico.

“Mexico’s scheme to displace Florida’s seasonal and perishable agricultural industry from the U.S. market is an unreasonable trade practice that constitutes export targeting,” reads the letter, signed by 23 members of the Florida delegation.

The group filed a petition for relief under section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. The petition, as the group’s letter notes, claims “Mexico poses a direct threat to Florida’s seasonal and perishable agricultural industry, endangers the long-term food security of the U.S., and raises the prospect that Mexico will become an unchallenged hegemon in the winter and spring fruit and vegetable supply chain, with the ability to set market prices that harm American consumers.”

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and U.S. Rep. Al Lawson are leading the effort.

The Sept. 8 letter and attached petition claim Mexico’s exports are a direct threat to President Joe Biden’s administration’s “intention to protect and reinvigorate critical supply chains within the U.S.”

In a news release from Rubio’s Office, he claims Mexico has “leveraged heavy subsidies and low wages in a scheme to conduct a ‘conquest of external markets’ and displace Florida’s seasonal and perishable agricultural industry from the domestic U.S. market.”

Florida Ag Coalition Chair Gene Adams agrees, noting that Florida farmers, growers and ranchers produce food for American families, 88% of which operate small, local farms.

“Yet, the long-term sustainability of their operations are at serious risk due to unjust international trade practices. Suppliers are turning to foreign countries for produce, threatening the livelihood of these growers in Florida, the future of the domestic food supply and an important sector of the state’s economy,” Adams said.

He added Florida cannot depend on other countries for a safe, domestic food supply.

In addition to Rubio and Lawson, other Florida congressional delegation signatories include:

— U.S. Sen. Rick Scott

— U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis

— U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan

— U.S. Rep. Kat Cammack

— U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor

— U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch

— U.S. Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart

— U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds

— U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn

— U.S. Rep. Scott Franklin

— U.S. Rep. Carlos Giménez

— U.S. Rep. Brian Mast

— U.S. Rep. Bill Posey

— U.S. Rep. John Rutherford

— U.S. Rep. María Elvira Salazar

— U.S. Rep. Darren Soto

— U.S. Rep. Greg Steube

— U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz

— U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz

— U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster

— U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson

U.S. Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick is named in the letter, but her signature is not included.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


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