The controversial decision that may reverse a 15-year ban on Argentine lemons is tied up in the Trump administration’s regulatory hold. That hold ends soon, and according to citrus leaders, the lemon rule goes directly against the Trump administration’s stance on trade.
The 60-day hold on regulations, which includes the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s decision to allow Argentine lemons into the United States, went into effect January 20. California Citrus Mutual (CCM) widely opposes the decision to allow fruit to be imported from a region that California industry representatives say is pest- and disease-infested.
CCM President Joel Nelson said based solely on the stance the Trump campaign has showed on trade, the administration should also oppose the decision. “This rule flies in the face of the president’s campaign rhetoric, conversations and policies he’s implemented since he has been in office,” he said.
President Trump has adamantly talked about the need to make sure trade agreements benefit the American people. Nelson said specific language in the lemon rule goes against that philosophy. “The last line of that rule specifically states that the only sector being adversely affected are lemon growers, employees and packing house operators. Consumer benefit is just a million dollars for 233 million people,” he said. “The only people really benefiting from this is the Argentinian growers. We are suggesting, in a formal memorandum to the transition team, that that is not this administration’s policy. For that reason, this should be pulled.”