Miami, FL — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) delivered testimony during a virtual hearing on seasonal and perishable produce organized by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.
The virtual hearing is the first of two to discuss foreign trade practices that are harming American growers, especially Florida farmers, of seasonal and perishable produce. These hearings are being convened after Rubio led the Florida delegation in securing a promise from the administration to further examine this issue and formulate a plan that addresses the severe harm that Florida growers continue to experience at the hands of Mexico. You can read Rubio’s testimony as prepared here.
“[P]rimarily you are here because of a promise made to me and to the entire Florida congressional delegation, and to this industry in Florida – made both privately, and publicly in Ambassador Lighthizer’s letter of January 9, 2020, that these unreasonable trade practices would be thoroughly examined, and an appropriate remedy announced,” Rubio said in his testimony. “The USMCA was a victory for our economy in many ways… However, as I said at the time, Florida growers were not protected by this agreement, and in fact, they were left out. Your promise to us was that this omission would not be the final word, that the livelihood of Florida growers would not be the price tag of the USMCA. We need you to make good on that promise.”
Rubio has been leading the effort on behalf of Florida’s growers who are harmed by unfair trade practices from Mexico. When the Senate approved the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement Implementation Act (USMCA), Rubio highlighted the shortcomings of the agreement as it relates to Florida’s seasonal growers.
“However, no trade deal is perfect, and while many American farmers and ranchers are celebrating, Florida’s fruit and vegetable growers were once again left to fend for themselves,” Rubio said. “Florida growers deserve an effective, enforceable, and durable solution to the problems NAFTA helped impose. While the USMCA will not improve their situation, I remain confident that this administration will continue to look for ways to address significant price distortions in the domestic seasonal and perishable produce market caused by a rising tide of unfair import competition.”