WASHINGTON, D.C. – Reps. Austin Scott (R-GA-08) and Darren Soto (D-FL-09) co-led a bipartisan letter to the International Trade Commission (ITC) on Tuesday expressing support for a Section 332 investigation for cucumbers and squash as American specialty crop producers struggle with unfair trade practices that negatively impact operations.
“Seasonal cucumber and squash imports from Mexico continue to dramatically impact U.S. markets and threaten the future of domestic farm production of perishable produce,” wrote the Members. “This Section 332 investigation by the ITC for cucumbers and squash is needed to make a meaningful determination as to the impact of these seasonal imports on our markets. Market changes occur quickly and can devastate a grower’s season in a matter of days if imports increase and the resulting price decreases coincide with harvest. We appreciate your efforts on behalf of our growers and rural communities.”
The letter is supported by Georgia Farm Bureau, Florida Farm Bureau, Michigan Farm Bureau, the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Association, and the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association.
“Georgia Farm Bureau agrees with U.S. Representatives Austin Scott and Darren Soto that a Section 332 investigation for cucumbers and squash is necessary to determine the full impact that imported produce is having on domestic growers. In recent years, Georgia farmers — along with farmers in many other U.S. states — have struggled to compete with the growing surge of imported fresh fruits and vegetables, and as noted by the reports highlighted in the letter, the problem will only get worse unless U.S. officials step in. We are grateful for the leadership of Representatives Scott and Soto along with the other Members of Congress who joined this important effort,” said Tom McCall, President of Georgia Farm Bureau.
“The several specialty crop states represented on this letter should signal a growing national concern for our agriculture sector,” said John L. Hoblick, President of Florida Farm Bureau. “Florida agriculture, and our rural communities as a result, is at a crossroads. This investigation on squash and cucumbers is a helpful start toward a fair solution for our domestic producers, and we applaud our federal policymakers for standing with us.”
The letter was sent two days ahead of Thursday’s ITC fact-finding hearing that will focus on cucumber and squash imports and their impact on the Southeast sector.
In November, Rep. Scott sent a similar letter to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) requesting ITC begin a Section 332 investigation into squash and cucumber imports. Click here to read more.
You can read the text of the letter below or by clicking here.