U.S.: Florida senators seek NAFTA 'regional anti-dumping relief' mechanism

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U.S.: Florida senators seek NAFTA 'regional anti-dumping relief' mechanism

Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson have urged the Senate Finance Committee to include an anti-dumping provision for the state's growers in the new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

In a letter dated April 6 to committee Chairman Hatch and Ranking Member Wyden, they said they sought a "mechanism to allow U.S. fruit and vegetable growers to use seasonal data to seek regional relief in antidumping and countervailing duties."

They said that free trade was not responsible for the 'dramatic damage' sustained by Florida growers since NAFTA's inception, but rather "a lack of reasonable evidentiary standards and processes for seasonal and perishable producers to seek relief," as well as "a lack of willingness from multiple Administrations" to confront trade partners.

The seasonal and perishable produce trade remedy proposal advanced by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in NAFTA renegotiations "would solve this inequity and strengthen the NAFTA through enhanced free and fair trade," they said.

They went onto says that Florida farmers have been "systematically undercut at home by Mexican agricultural subsidies, poor labor standards, and seasonal dumping."

"These benefits are not theoretical – just last week Florida's bell pepper growers were denied protection from egregious Mexican dumping when the Department of Commerce declined to self-initiate an anti-dumping case," they said.

"Had USTR's provision been in place, it is possible that these growers would have been able to successfully meet the standards to petition the case directly rather than being wholly dependent on Commerce to self-initiate."

Last week Reuters reported Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland had said the U.S., Mexico and Canada still have to resolve "major issues" around NAFTA, casting doubt that the quick deal sought by Washington would materialize.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, citing the need to reach a deal an agreement before the Mexican presidential election on July 1, reportedly wants the outlines of a deal soon to update the regional trade agreement.

Photo: www.shutterstock.com


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