Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan, Rubio Introduce Bill to Combat Unfair Trade Practices Hurting Florida Farmers

Jan 3, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Reps. Vern Buchanan and Al Lawson and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio today introduced legislation to help Florida fruit and vegetable growers combat Mexico’s unfair trade practices. Specifically, the Defending Domestic Produce Production Act would ease certain thresholds to allow Florida farmers to petition the Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission to investigate illegal subsidies and dumping of Mexican fruits and vegetables in the U.S. market. Current law requires petitioners to demonstrate harm as measured from a nationwide and year-round perspective.

This bill would acknowledge the unique circumstances of seasonal fruit and vegetable producers who are directly harmed by Mexico’s practices in various geographic regions during different seasons, including Florida growers during the winter months.

“Our beleaguered growers continue to be harmed by Mexico’s unfair subsidies and illegal seasonal dumping,” Buchanan said. “This legislation will level the playing field for a vital industry to Florida’s economy.”

“We must do all we can to ensure a level playing field for Florida’s fruit and vegetable growers,” Rubio said. “Absent any effective agreement with the Mexican government covering seasonal and perishable produce imports, I’m proud to support this bill to increase opportunities for Florida growers to successfully seek relief from the illegal dumping of Mexican winter produce into our domestic markets.”

Lawson said, “Mexico’s dumping into our nation’s agriculture market is problematic, and below-cost produce has put Florida’s farmers at a disadvantage. This issue is crippling Florida’s agriculture industry, and the Defending Domestic Produce Production Act will work to protect Florida’s farmers.”

The Florida Department of Agriculture has stated that the Sunshine State is currently the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the country, and produces some of the highest quality produce in the world. The industry supports nearly 100,000 Florida jobs and has an economic impact of more than $12 billion a year in the Sunshine State. But since 2000, Florida has lost between one and three billion dollars annually due to increased Mexican imports.

Buchanan Fighting for Florida Farmers

A champion for Florida agriculture, Buchanan received the Friend of Farm Bureau Award for voting 100 percent with Florida farmers in the 115th Congress. As co-chair of the Florida delegation, Buchanan repeatedly led bipartisan efforts to protect Florida’s critical specialty crop industry in NAFTA renegotiations.

In 2017, Buchanan’s bill to help orange growers replace tress damaged by citrus greening and natural disaster was included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that was signed into law by President Trump.

Demonstrating his longstanding commitment to bipartisanship, Buchanan previously led efforts in Congress to secure an unprecedented $125 million to combat citrus greening as part of the five-year farm bill that President Obama later signed into law. The legislation also authorized the disbursement of up to $125 million in discretionary funding over five years to combat this disease.