In The Packer’s Aug. 7 issue, Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, writes about fruits and vegetables being involved in NAFTA modernization.
He represents crops grown in Mexico such as asparagus, blueberries, peppers, table grapes, tomatoes, and more. About 99% of these crops that are exported are exported to the U.S., not to Asia or Europe.
Jungmeyer is concerned that the perishable and seasonal crop provision included in the Trump Administration’s NAFTA modernization negotiating objectives may result in managed trade.
To the contrary, the perishable and seasonal crop trade provision is a step forward. This program could move our industry into the 21st century, just as the U.S. did when it introduced the sanitary and phytosanitary rule for the first time in the 1994 NAFTA.
Ninety-nine percent of all products (steel, pencils, light bulbs, clothing, etc.) are protected from imports that are dumped into this country or subsidized in some way.
Perishable and seasonal crops do not have this protection.
Why penalize crops not involved in dumping or subsidization?
Keeping the status quo would continue to subject Mexican fresh fruit and vegetable exports, should they be dumped or subsidized (and economically injured), to a possible one-year-high tariff (or longer) instead of a seasonal tariff that can be removed when the dumping and/or subsidies cease.
Perhaps one of the reasons the U.S. is offering the perishable and seasonal provision is because there are so many areas in the U.S. where certain crops can no longer be profitably grown due to high volumes of imports at dumped prices and possible Mexican government support.
Jungmeyer is correct when he states that dumping must be proved over a year, and this is the essence of the problem. Under the current scenario, should the government determine dumping at certain times of the year, growers producing at other times of the year may have their exports assessed significant duties.
Why penalize innocent growers who are not dumping? A modern statute would focus on the perishable and seasonal growers responsible for dumping and limit the increased tariff to the weeks when dumping occurs. Both growers and consumers will benefit.
This isn’t “managed trade.” It’s what producers of 99% of other products (such as steel) use as a safeguard. Why penalize crops not involved in dumping or subsidization? We should join together and focus on the solution, not ignore dumping and subsidization.
California Asparagus Commission, Desert Grape Growers League of California, Florida Blueberry Growers Association, Florida Farm Bureau, Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, Florida Tomato Exchange, Florida Strawberry Growers Association, Georgia Blueberry Growers Association, Georgia Farm Bureau, Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, Georgia Watermelon Association and Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board.
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