Federal agencies have outlined plans to help protect American producers from threats created by foreign imports of fresh fruits and vegetables. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Department of Commerce (DOC) released a report on September 1 detailing the Trump Administration’s plan to support domestic production of perishable produce.
“President Trump recognizes the challenges faced by American farmers and is committed to promoting and securing fair trade and a level playing field for all American producers. Secretary Perdue, Secretary Ross, and I are fully engaged in this effort,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a news release. “We would like to thank all of the elected officials, agricultural leaders, and dozens of farmers who participated in these hearings and helped make this plan a priority.”
USTR will be requesting an investigation by the International Trade Commission to monitor the imports of blueberries, strawberries, and bell peppers and the impact it is having on American producers. USTR will also be engaging with Mexican officials regarding concerns of imports of multiple seasonal and perishable products. USTR will also be working with USDA and DOC in developing an interagency working group to evaluate the situation and provide technical assistance to Congress on potential legislation related to the issue.
DOC will be working to establish an outreach program to engage American producers in developing appropriate trade remedies. USDA will work with seasonal and perishable fruit and vegetable producers to facilitate increased efficiency of USDA programs. USDA will also create a marketing strategy for American produce and work with other agencies to better understand the level of product imports used in criminal activity.
The plan has been developed based on stakeholder input. Public hearings were held in August that included the testimony of 60 witnesses, with more than 300 written comments also submitted. The full Report on Seasonal and Perishable Products in U.S. Commerce is available online through the USTR website.