November 27, 2022

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US and Mexico make their situations on cucumber, squash trade to ITC | 2021-04-08

U.S. farmers, govt officials and lecturers instructed the Intercontinental Trade Fee on Thursday that unfair Mexican trade had prompted steep losses in domestic vegetable markets, an accusation countered by reps of Mexican producers. 

U.S. buyers are eating a large amount more cucumbers and squash, but U.S. farmers that deliver the veggies are offering a lot less as imports from Mexico carry on to increase, putting U.S. functions out of business, the ITC was advised all through an on the web hearing.

But blaming Mexico for farmers’ woes is unfair, argued witnesses such as Gerardo Lameda, the prime economics official at Mexico’s embassy in Washington. Mexican manufacturing and exports of cucumbers and squash have risen sharply in recent a long time, but only because U.S. need has risen. Mexican exports, he explained, enhance U.S. generation in states like Florida, Ga, North Carolina and Michigan by transport to the U.S. in winter months so that U.S. people can invest in the veggies all calendar year.

Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Clean Generate Association of the Americas, argued that U.S. farmers have troubles much greater than imports from Mexico. Storms, flood, drought, the decline of land to industrial and residential construction and labor shortages are the authentic difficulties for U.S. farmers, he instructed the ITC.

Jungmeyer explained,U.S. farmers “have reflexively blamed Mexican imports for all their woes, saying it’s unfair, unfair, unfair. In fact, lots of of the challenges faced by these growers … have very little to do with Mexican imports, but all the things to do with the (U.S.) growers’ inability to supply (the U.S.) current market.”

But witnesses these types of as Gene McAvoy, affiliate director for stakeholder relations at the College of Florida, and Charles Corridor, government director of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association  turned down these arguments and place the blame squarely on subsidized Mexican farms who offer their cucumbers and squash in the U.S. for considerably less revenue than it fees U.S. farms to generate the vegetables.

“Our growers encounter a disaster not of their very own earning,” reported Hall, who mentioned that it expenses Georgia producers an common of $7.86 to mature and deal a box of cucumbers even though Mexican cucumbers market for as low as $5.21 for each box.

“Between 2015 and 2019 imports of Mexican Cucumbers surged 14%,” he reported. “Georgia generation dropped by 37%.”

McAvoy stated that only about a 3rd of the vegetable farmers are still left in southwest Florida following two many years of level of competition with Mexican imports.

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“To place it simply just, our growers can not contend with a state that works by using unfair, trade-distorting tactics like Mexico has finished for the previous 20 decades,” he stated.

The ITC agreed to examine the effect of imported cucumbers and squash after a immediate ask for from then-U.S. Trade Agent Robert Lighthizer and it will get about a yr to full.

In the meantime, cucumber and squash farmers have the support of some lawmakers in the Property and Senate.

Reps. Austin Scott, R-Ga., Darren Soto, D-Fla., Dan Kildee, D-Mich., Fred Upton, R-Mich., and 26 other lawmakers write a letter this 7 days to ITC leaders, supporting the investigation.

“Seasonal cucumber and squash imports from Mexico go on to considerably impact U.S. markets and threaten the foreseeable future of domestic farm production of perishable develop,” they wrote. “Import info from land grant universities and point out departments of agriculture affirm that seasonal imported squash and cucumbers negatively affect our vegetable growers, their marketplaces, and communities.”