Rep. Austin Scott: USTR Committed to Addressing Unfair Trade Practices that Hurt Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Producers
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Austin Scott (GA-08), a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee, today released the below statement upon news of a commitment from President Trump’s chief trade negotiator to enhance the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement:
“For years, Georgia’s producers have struggled to compete with unfair trade practices, like the dumping of foreign-subsidized fresh fruits and vegetables into U.S. markets well below the cost of production. I am thankful that President Trump and Ambassador Robert Lighthizer have committed to addressing these concerns, and I look forward to continuing to work with the Administration to ensure our American farmers receive a square deal in any international trade agreements” said Rep. Scott.
In May 2018, Rep. Scott sent a letter to Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, United States Trade Representative (USTR), urging a separate domestic industry provision for perishable and seasonable products in antidumping and countervailing duty proceedings through North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations. Click to read more. He also led a similar letter to Ambassador Lighthizer in 2017. Click to read more.
After months of negotiations, Ambassador Lighthizer expressed his commitment to addressing Rep. Scott’s concerns through a multi-pronged approach outlined below:
- First, USTR will begin working immediately with the relevant U.S. Government and State agencies, and U.S. seasonal and perishable sectors to identify and compile documentation on trade distorting policies that may be contributing to unfair pricing in the U.S. market for seasonal and perishable products and to assess the impact of those policies on U.S. producers of those seasonal and perishable products.
- Second, within 90 days of the U.S. Congress passing the USMCA implementing legislation, USTR, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Agriculture will hold field hearings in Florida and Georgia to hear firsthand from U.S. seasonal and perishable producers on trade distorting policies that may be contributing to unfair pricing in the U.S. market and causing harm to U.S. seasonal and perishable producers in U.S. commerce, and to solicit feedback on how the Administration can better support these producers and redress unfair harm.
- Third, as appropriate, USTR may also request that the International Trade Commission help monitor imports of seasonal and perishable goods, recognizing that similar monitoring initiatives that were delinked from viable enforcement actions under NAFTA were ineffective in remedying harm to the U.S. seasonal and perishable products covered by that monitoring.
- Fourth, the Department of Commerce, through its designated experts within the International Trade Administration, will continue working with U.S. producers of seasonal and perishable products on potential trade cases pursuant to sections 702 and 732 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, and will, in the appropriate circumstances, self-initiate such cases.