Florida Farm Bureau President John L. Hoblick issued the following statement after having received news of a new trade pact between the United States and Mexico:
“The United States announced a tentative trade agreement with Mexico. This pact fails to address the plight of our fruit and vegetable producers. Florida’s farm families view the negotiations that led to the agreement as an unfortunate, missed opportunity.
“When North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations commenced last year, we had high hopes for a chance to correct the unintended consequences of this flawed trade deal. Since 1994, NAFTA has enabled and allowed unfair trading practices – primarily dumping and heavy subsidization – by Mexico, which directly undercut Florida’s struggling family farms.
“Many of those farms, unable to fend off competition from Mexican products priced below their own cost of production, are now shuttered. It is a haunting reminder of the long-term effects of unfair and unenforced trade deals.
“As a nation, we must use every opportunity to advance free and fair trade. Yesterday’s news only strengthens Florida Farm Bureau’s resolve to find a fair and equitable trade solution for our fruit and vegetable crop producers.
“We remain committed to partnering with the Administration and Congress to achieve this important trade objective for Florida’s farmers and ranchers, and look forward to working with them on other agricultural priorities in renegotiations.”
Florida Farm Bureau, the state’s largest general agricultural organization, represents more than 146,000 member-families. The organization serves to enhance farm enterprise and improve rural communities.