Charles Hall, executive director of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, understands changes to the unfair trade practices that are being experienced by seasonal growers in Georgia and Florida with regards to Mexican imports are not going to happen overnight.
But he is hopeful the virtual hearings on Thursday, Aug. 13 and the one next week on Thursday, Aug. 20, will make a difference.
Hearing Next Week
Hall is one of numerous farmers and industry leaders in Georgia who will testify in a virtual hearing on Thursday with the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office. The hearings provide the U.S. Department of Commerce and Trump Administration an opportunity to hear from growers in both states about the urgent need for federal action regarding unfair trade.
“I think it is big that we have this opportunity to talk with some of the decision makers in Washington. I know that our Congressmen and Congressional delegations have been fighting for us. I think it could very well be of some remedy, but I say that cautiously because there’s an awful lot that has to happen for this to be any remedy for us,” Hall said. “I don’t think after these hearings, they’re going to say we believe you and we’re going to do what we need to. I think the hearings are one step in the process. Hopefully, we can continue to keep the administration on our side and continue to work towards some remedy to this.”
Trade Distorting Policies
Hall hopes the discussion over the two days of hearing will center on trade distorting policies and how to address the competitive disadvantage American farmers are facing.
“All of the testimony that was presented on Thursday (13th) or next week on the 20th is to show the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office what we consider to be trade distorting policies. Over the last 15 years, since NAFTA was created, particularly over the last five years you can look at the increase of Mexican imports into the U.S. and how much the Mexico imports have taken over the U.S. domestic market for produce. You can really see what those imports are doing,” Hall said.