Federal agencies outline plan to address unfair produce imports
On Sept. 1, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Commerce released a report outlining the Trump Administration’s plan to address the threat posed by increased foreign imports to American producers of seasonal and fresh fruits and vegetables.
The plan follows public hearings held in August where more than 60 witnesses testified, including Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long, in addition to over 300 written submissions.
Based on information collected from these hearings, the agencies committed to the several actions to support America’s seasonal and perishable fruit and vegetable producers.
The USTR will request the International Trade Commission to initiate a Section 201 global safeguard investigation into the extent to which increased imports of blueberries have caused serious injury to domestic blueberry growers.
The USTR will pursue senior-level government-to-government discussions with Mexico over the next 90 days to address U.S. industry concerns regarding U.S. imports of Mexican strawberries, bell peppers, and other seasonal and perishable products.
The USTR will work with domestic producers to commence an investigation by the International Trade Commission to monitor and investigate imports of strawberries and bell peppers, which could enable an expedited Section 201 global safeguard investigation later this year.
The Department of Commerce will establish an outreach program to connect with Southeastern and other growers of seasonal and perishable fruits and vegetables, to enhance understanding of applicable trade remedy laws and processes. Commerce will establish a formal channel for stakeholders to provide information related to unfair subsidies for foreign producers and exporters of seasonal and perishable fruits and vegetables, including those in Mexico – building on ongoing efforts to partner with U.S. industry to identify such subsidies.
The USDA will increase targeted outreach to producers of seasonal and perishable fruits and vegetables to maximize the use of existing Department of Agriculture programs and develop a market promotion strategy for domestically produced produce. The USDA will also initiate conversations with relevant federal partners to better understand the extent to which imports of seasonal and perishable products are utilized to enable criminal activity.
The USTR, the Department of Commerce, and the USDA will establish an interagency working group to monitor seasonal and perishable fruit and vegetable products, coordinate as appropriate regarding future investigations and trade actions, and provide technical assistance to members of Congress in developing legislation on this issue.
To read the plan visit www.gfb.ag/20fedproducetradeplan.