Rep. Austin Scott to USTR, USDA: Protect Our Specialty Crop Producers in NAFTA Negotiations
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Austin Scott (GA-08), a Member of the House Agriculture Committee and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy and Credit, today participated in a roundtable discussion with Ambassador Gregg Doud, United States Trade Representative (USTR) Chief Agricultural Negotiator, and Ted McKinney, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, to discuss ongoing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations.
During the meeting, Rep. Scott stressed the importance of protecting specialty crop producers from unfair dumping of fresh fruits and vegetables into U.S. markets by Mexico. Following the meeting, Rep. Scott released the below statement:
“Specialty crop producers across the Southeastern United States are hurting from Mexico’s unfair trade practices and the dumping of fresh fruits and vegetables into the market below the cost of production,” said Rep. Scott. “We must find a solution to protect our producers to ensure they can remain competitive under a new NAFTA agreement, and I will continue to press for such protections."
In recent years, the growth of Mexico’s fruit and vegetable sector has led to an excessive amount of dumping of fruits and vegetables into the United States below the cost of production. Mexico continues to unfairly subsidize its growers making it very difficult for many specialty crop producers to remain competitive.
In May 2018, Rep. Scott led a bipartisan letter with members from Georgia’s Congressional Delegation to Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, the United States Trade Representative, urging a separate domestic industry provision for perishable and seasonable products in antidumping and countervailing duty proceedings through NAFTA renegotiations. Click here to read more. In September 2017, Rep. Scott sent a similar letter to Ambassador Lighthizer urging USTR to protect producers of specialty crops from foreign dumping of fruits and vegetables into U.S. markets. Click here to read more.
In November 207, Rep. Scott, along with Rep. Neal Dunn (FL-02), penned an opinion editorial in The Hill stressing the urgent need to address this issue to protect our nation’s specialty crop producers. Click here to read the joint op-ed in The Hill.