The message is clear: Action is needed immediately against “unfair” imports.
Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, along with more than half of Florida’s congressional delegation, pleaded with President Joe Biden in a letter addressed on Oct. 6 that the “long-standing threats posed to our security by unfairly-priced and high-volume imports are as grave as ever and deserve your urgent attention and action.”
The letter highlighted an Aug. 30, 20201 report from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services that focused on the harmful impact Mexico’s actions have had on Florida’s vegetable and specialty crop producers. The statistical data is staggering:
- Between 2000 and 2020, specialty crop imports from Mexico rose by 580%.
- Between 2000 and 2020, Florida producers of bell peppers, tomatoes, strawberries and blueberries experienced market declines of 74.75%, 52.1%, 30.3% and 57.86% respectively. Those declines caused annual losses of $1.31 billion to $2.63 billion to Florida’s economy.
“In anticipation of Florida’s fruit and vegetable harvest season beginning this November, we implore you to work with us and our colleagues in Congress to expeditiously develop an action plan to secure immediate, effective and enforceable trade relief for our growers, so that another harvest season is not lost to unfair imports,” the letter read. “The long-term harm that Florida’s growers have suffered these past two decades cannot continue if the United States intends to maintain reliable food supply chains and retain self-sufficiency. However, fatal harm to Florida’s agricultural base will occur if the Federal government does not take immediate action.”
The letter ends with the statement, “You must take action now.”
Members of Congress who joined in the letter included: Brian Mast (FL-18), Stephanie Murphy (FL-07), Vern Buchanan (FL-16), Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), Gus M. Bilirakis (FL-12), Bill Posey (FL-08), Maria Elvira Salazar (FL-27), John H. Rutherford (FL-04), Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24), C. Scott Franklin (FL-15), Neal P. Dunn M.D. (FL-02), Carlos A. Gimenez (FL-26), Daniel Webster (FL-11), Al Lawson (FL-05), W. Gregory Steube (FL-17), Michael Waltz (FL-06), Darren Soto (FL-09), Kat Cammack (FL-03), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) and Charlie Crist (FL-13).