In Washington, the pundits say it’s not over until it’s over, and then it’s still not over. That’s certainly the case as NAFTA negotiations grind on, with the U.S. and Canada resuming talks on September 5.
Although President Trump announced a deal with Mexico on August 27, some of his most loyal followers are not happy. For example, both the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association and the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (GFVGA) complained that the new trade pact does not include a specific trade remedy for specialty crop producers in the southeastern U.S.
“This announcement is certainly disappointing,” wrote Charles Hall, executive director, GFVGA, in a statement released August 27. “Our southeastern growers remain deeply concerned as this agreement fails to provide trade relief needed for our industry.”
According to Hall, Mexico's unfair trading practices have taken their toll on producers in the southeastern U.S. for the last 20 years. Mexico swamps the U.S. market during narrow marketing seasons at prices far below production costs. What's more, Mexico's president-elect recently promised a significant increase in government subsidies to Mexican farmers to plant a million more hectares of fruit.
It’s the Florida tomato market that has suffered the most, followed by peppers according to the Miami Herald. Tomatoes used to be the number one commodity but has fallen to a minor player. The newspaper coverage puts the blame squarely on free trade with Mexico as well as other development trends in the state. (For link, go here: https://hrld.us/2N9hbjm )
The Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association meets for its annual convention on September 25-27, 2018 in Naples.