Agriculture Sonny Perdue (center) stops by the Wish Farms booth at the Florida Strawberry Festival March 6; president and CEO Gary Wishnatzki is in the foreground. ( Courtesy USDA )

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue visited the Florida Strawberry Festival and hosted a roundtable with industry members, where concerns over fair trade were voiced.

U.S. Reps. Ross Spano (R-Fla.) and Greg Pence (R-Ind.) also attended the March 6 visit, where Perdue toured the festival grounds in Plant City and met with growers.

An issue that came up was the signing of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement. Although the Trump administration originally supported USMCA provisions to allow U.S. growers to claim unfair trade practices, the final agreement did not include the anti-dumping measures.

The same day Perdue visited strawberry growers, however, the Commerce Department announced hearings for April 7 in Florida and April 9 in Georgia to hear from growers about concerns of unfair trade practices from Mexico.

“Today’s session was very productive in making sure we are putting America first and continue the fight against illegal market dumping that hurts our agricultural trade and small businesses,” Spano said in a statement following the roundtable.

The April 7 hearing in Plant City, and the April 9 hearing in Valdosta, Ga., will also include officials from the USDA, U.S. Trade Representative’s Office, and the Department of Commerce.

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