Mar 14, 2019
Sen. Rubio, colleagues defend US growers, administration

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, R-Florida, along with his colleagues, released on March 13 statements addressing criticism by a group of lawmakers and industry groups on the Trump Administration’s decision to immediately terminate a suspension agreement between the Department of Commerce and Mexican tomato exporters. Last month, Rubio and U.S. Representative Ted Yoho, R-Florida, with bipartisan support from 46 Senate and House colleagues from around the nation, urged Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to withdraw from the flawed agreement.

“Washington’s willingness to sacrifice entire domestic industries and local production just to shave pennies off the costs that American consumers might pay for products is one of the main reasons why Donald Trump is president today. He rightly understood there is no dignity for American workers in buying cheaper, imported goods without domestic production supporting jobs, paychecks, and livelihoods,” Rubio said. “Florida benefits greatly from fairly traded imports through some of the best seaport infrastructure in the world. Unfortunately, Mexican seasonal fruit and vegetable imports continue to pour in across the southern border with little regard for the rules that are supposed to guarantee that freely imported goods are also fairly traded.”

“The faulty economic foundation created by this unfair foreign trade continues to enrich Mexican producers and domestic importers and distributors at the expense of domestic producers,” Rubio said. “We cannot stand by as some profit from unfair fruit and vegetable imports directly at the expense of their neighbors and countrymen. Fortunately, President Trump and Secretary Ross understand the importance of an economy that values both domestic production and fairly traded import goods. After all, free, fair, and reciprocal trade should not just be a slogan, it must be the only way of doing business with the United States of America.”

“For too long, our domestic tomato industry has been harmed by Mexican producers dumping tomatoes into the U.S. market. I am confident that the Department of Commerce made the right decision to withdraw from the Tomato Suspension Agreement so these unfair trading practices can be properly addressed. Our domestic producers must have a level playing field, and that requires the enforcement of rules that guarantee fair trade,” Rep. Ted S. Yoho,R-Florida, said.

“Florida’s tomato farmers have been looking for relief from unfair trade practices in Mexico for many years. The opportunity for our growers to fairly compete is finally here. I commend the Administration for standing up for the people of Florida,” Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Florida, said.

“Unfair trade practices are hurting our local growers and hindering their ability to compete. This must be stopped. Much like tomato growers, strawberry growers in my district are under attack from illegal ‘dumping’ practices and are unable to defend themselves under present treaties. I will continue to stand with my colleagues in the House & Senate in coming to the aid of our farmers and ensure that both the Administration, and our Nation, are being treated fairly and just under any new trade agreement,” Rep. Ross Spano, R-Florida, said.

“The data is overwhelmingly clear, Mexico has been waging an assault on southeastern tomato producers for years– and getting away with it. I applaud the Administration for putting domestic growers first and stand by their decision to terminate the suspension agreement,” Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Florida, said.

“For decades, Florida’s growers have tried to compete on an unbalanced playing field. After years of failed negotiations, termination of the suspension agreement has finally given our growers a fighting chance against these unfair trade practices,” Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Florida, said.

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