PALM BEACH, Fla. — The interests of Florida and America should come first, and the USCMA as it is written is a “bad deal,” Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried said.
Fried, whose speech was interrupted often by applause, spoke at a Sept. 26 session to a sellout crowd at the Sept. 24-26 Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association convention.
“USMCA — it was a bad deal 25 years ago and it is a bad deal today,” Fried said. Passage of the agreement as written would cost Florida about 8,000 jobs and $400 million, she said.
Fried said her office and other Florida interests have written to members of Congress and President Trump about Florida’s concerns about USMCA. Florida’s Congressional legislation is resisting USMCA as it is written, she said.
She said the trade deal will hurt more states than Florida alone.
“If agriculture is not thriving, we are putting our national security at risk,” she said. “We must put Florida first, we must put America first — and that’s what I fight for every single day.”
Registration for the FFVA event was sold out, with the number of attendees capped at 485, up 14% from a year ago, said Lisa Lochridge, director of public affairs for the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association.
“I think it just shows that people in the industry enjoy coming together, they enjoy the networking opportunities and enjoy what they can learn and take away,” she said. The convention was at The Breakers beach resort in Palm Beach.
“It’s a lovely venue and everybody loves The Breakers but I’d like to think that it is also just a good meeting and people see value in it. There are daunting issues that we’re continuing to work away at and we feel like we are making a difference.”