On September 1, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), Department of Commerce, and USDA released a report detailing the Trump Administration’s plan to address concerns over Mexican exports of seasonal and perishable fruits and vegetables to the United States. The report’s release comes after the three departments held a pair of virtual public hearings in August, during which more than 60 witnesses testified, including nearly a dozen members of Congress.
NPC provided written testimony during those hearings, which can be found here. The Administration’s announcement avoided the concerns that NPC raised regarding counterproductive changes to U.S. antidumping laws.
Instead, the first of the six actions the Administration will pursue is USTR requesting “the International Trade Commission to initiate a Section 201 global safeguard investigation into the extent to which increased imports of blueberries have caused serious injury to domestic blueberry growers.” USTR will also engage in discussions with the Mexican government to address concerns some U.S. domestic growers have with U.S. imports of Mexican strawberries, bell peppers, and other seasonal/perishable products. Potatoes were not one of the products listed in the report.
“As one of the leaders for the fruit and vegetable industry in D.C., NPC has been working with the Administration in addressing trade issues between the two countries, in particular Mexico’s obstruction of U.S. fresh potato imports,” said Jared Balcom, NPC V.P. of Trade Affairs. “The Administration’s announcement this week clearly indicates their intention to work within existing agreements and the law to resolve these issues. NPC will continue to pursue all avenues to resolve the fresh access issue given the existing structure of our trade agreements.”