'New NAFTA' fails local growers, says Florida Farm Bureau

May 30 , 2019

While the U.S., Canada, and Mexico work toward ratifying a 'new NAFTA', produce growers in Florida and Georgia have voiced concerns that this new deal would do little to help them.

In fact, Florida’s Farm Bureau president John L. Hoblick was quoted as saying the pact “fails to address the plight of our fruit and vegetable producers.”

According to the WPTV news station, he has called U.S. President Trump's-spearheaded deal “an unfortunate, missed opportunity”.

As approval of the deal looms, many of Florida’s fruit and vegetable farmers say the agreement isn’t what it should be, says WPTV. It stresses that they feel they're running out of time before ratification.

Lawton “Bud” Chiles, the son of Florida’s late Governor Lawton Mainor Chiles Jr., is one of the growers who has voiced his dissatisfaction with the new the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Chiles owns a blueberry operation in Florida. Considering his industry, he was quoted as saying that “not one thing” about NAFTA's replacement would be beneficial.

“I mean, it actually hurts us,” WPTV quotes him as saying.

Blueberry growers in Georgia have made similar claims, reports The Baxley News-Banner.

Farmers critical of the agreement feel it lacks protection against what they consider unfair competition from Mexico. There, growers can produce fresh fruit more cheaply, due in large part to low-cost labor. It’s then dumped into U.S. markets, says WPTV.

Georgian Blueberry farmer and banker Perry White elaborated.

"It’s a pretty rough deal, and if something isn’t done about it, it’s going to be devastating,” Baxley News-Banner quoted him as saying.

These concerns haven't seemed to have affected U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's view of the deal. He called the USMCA a win for the U.S. during his recent stop in Jacksonville, FL, says WPTV.

Canada, Mexico move forward with USMCA

Canada formally presented the USMCA to parliament on Wednesday ahead of Pence's visit, reports Reuters.

According to the news source, Canada is pressing ahead with its ratification plans in tandem with the U.S.

Yet while Canada takes steps forward, the publication notes that the trade deal faces a tricky path in the U.S. This is especially true ahead of presidential and congressional elections next year.

Meanwhile, Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said in a news briefing that its government will send a new North American trade deal to the Senate today. Reuters adds that the nation plans to ratify the accord “soon.”

 

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