The Fresh Produce Association of the Americas has welcomed a joint bid by Republican and Democrat Senators and Representatives to challenge moves by the Trump Administration to limit imports of blueberries and other fruit and vegetables.
Senators Kyrsten Sinema (Democrat, Arizona) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Representatives David Schweikert (Republican, Arizona) and Henry Cuellar (Democrat, Texas) have written a letter raising significant concerns with Trump’s Section 201 investigation on imported blueberries and Section 332 investigations of imported strawberries, bell peppers, squash, and cucumbers.
“The support of this congressional letter is hugely important for American companies involved in trade, especially with the knowledge that the trade investigations being launched undermine the new USMCA,” said FPAA president Lance Jungmeyer.
He noted that the trade agreement had been signed last year without a so-called seasonality clause because that was the will of the agriculture community at large. Indeed, the Congressional letter follows an industry letter signed by nearly three-dozen food and agriculture organizations challenging the US Trade Representative’s actions.
“This letter from Congress is so important,” Jungmeyer said. “In 2021, if we create trade friction with Mexico, our neighbour and largest trading partner, it will devastate the many businesses that rely on the robust two-way agriculture trade with Mexico.”
FPAA said the coalition supported cross-border trade with the US’s top trading partners, and the desire to avoid restrictions and tariffs that US consumers end up paying on the products which they demand year-round.
“This is especially important now that ITC is broadening its investigations into bell peppers, cucumbers and squash, items which have significant economic importance to Arizona distributors,” the association said.
The FPAA is member of the Blueberry Coalition for Progress & Health, which includes domestic growers and shippers as well as importers and retailers, and was formed to oppose limitations on blueberry imports, including the recently initiated Section 201 investigation.