( Courtesy California Citrus Mutual )

California Citrus Mutual is commending the Trump administration plan to protect domestic growers of seasonal produce.

“Low-priced imports have previously caused a substantial market disruption for the California citrus industry during its marketing season,” according to a news release from the citrus group. “We are encouraged by both the administration’s plan and its determination to bring relief to fruit and vegetable growers who are suffering from similar import issues.”

In 2017, low-priced citrus imports from the Southern Hemisphere increased 40% over 2016 shipments, causing significant price declines and harm to California growers, according to the release. Following the administration’s plan, California Citrus Mutual will monitor imports in the coming California season and report import surges, unfair import practices, and injury to California citrus growers, according to the release.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Commerce on Sept. 4 announced the administration’s plan, following two August hearings in which the three entities documented testimony from growers, state and federal legislators, trade groups and others on how imports, primarily from Mexico, harmed growers of seasonal produce. Most of the testimony came from people representing Florida and Georgia specialty crops.

The administration’s trade plan includes:

  • > Self-initiation of Section 201 global safeguard action on certain imports, including blueberries, and possibly strawberries and bell peppers;
  • > USTR’s coordination with specific sectors to monitor and investigate imports under the Section 201 provisions covering perishable agricultural products and citrus products;
  • > Department of Commerce coordination with effected sectors on possible self-initiated anti-dumping and countervailing duty actions, and the administration’s indication that still other actions and investigations may be taken. 

“These steps are essential safeguarding and supporting all U.S. fruit and vegetable growers harmed by this problem,” according to California Citrus Mutual, in the release.