California Citrus Mutual backs U.S. actions against seasonal produce imports
The California Citrus Mutual says it commends actions recently announced by U.S. authorities to address the impact of increased imports of seasonal and perishable products.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) last week said they would take trade remedy steps to protect U.S. growers of blueberries, and potentially strawberries, bell peppers and other seasonal imports.
The CCM said low-priced imports have previously caused "a substantial market disruption" for the California citrus industry during its marketing season.
"We are encouraged by both the Administration's plan and its determination to bring relief to fruit and vegetable growers who are suffering from similar import issues," it said.
The trade remedy steps announced include the self-initiation of Section 201 global safeguard action on certain imports, USTR's coordination with specific sectors to monitor and investigate imports under the Section 201 provisions covering perishable agricultural products and citrus products, DOC's coordination with effected sectors on possible self-initiated antidumping and countervailing duty actions, and the Administration's indication that still other actions and investigations may be taken.
"These steps are essential safeguarding and supporting all U.S. fruit and vegetable growers harmed by this problem," the CCM said.
"In 2017, low-priced citrus imports from the Southern Hemisphere increased 40% over the prior year's shipments, causing significant price declines and harm to California growers.
"Consistent with last week's announcement, California Citrus Mutual will closely monitor imports in the coming California season and continue to coordinate with the U.S. Government regarding any import surges, unfair import practices, and injury to our citrus growers."