It was announced on Sept. 30 that the United States, Mexico and Canada reached a new deal to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The deal will be called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
NAFTA was a trade agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico that was made in 1994 under the Clinton administration. The idea for NAFTA began in the 1980s under President Reagan.
Although an agreement has been made, it does not include provisions to protect southeastern specialty crop growers from unfair Mexican trade practices. Due to the lower price of produce coming from Mexico, and the lower costs of production, American growers in the Southeast are finding it nearly impossible to keep up with such steep competition.
AgNet Media’s Danielle Leal recently caught up with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to discuss USMCA. When asked about the lack of protection for Southeastern specialty crop producers, Perdue says it is disappointing that those provisions did not make it through. “Ambassador Lighthizer started off strong in this, but this was one that did not cross the finish line,” he says.
Leal also brought up a recent bill that has been proposed by Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio. Perdue says he is hopeful that a resolution can be made to address this issue, whether it is Nelson and Rubio’s bill or another piece of legislation.
Hear more of Perdue’s comments:
The Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Grower’s Association recently announced a new bill, the Agriculture Trade Improvement Act, has been introduced to both the House and the Senate. If passed, the bill would allow specialty crop growers greater flexibility in requesting federal action against dumping. U.S. Congressman Buddy Carter is a cosponsor on the bill and more legislative offices are expected to sign on as cosponsors. Read the bill here.
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