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Economy / Business

White House Vows To Help Florida Farmers Hurt By 'Unfair' Trade With Mexico

Tomato plants
iStock

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried says she welcomes the Trump Administration's plan to help produce farmers in Florida and other southeastern states.

Florida growers have suffered a $3.7 billion loss due from 2000 to 2019 due to “unfair trade,” according to a report from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Tomato and strawberry growers have long complained that the Mexican government has offered subsidies to farmers, who then dump their crops into American markets at a lower price.

The Trump Administration slapped tariffs on Mexican-grown tomatoes last year.

This week, the White House announced further steps, including an investigation into Mexico’s trade practices.

According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the federal government will also “increase targeted outreach to producers of seasonal and perishable fruits and vegetables to maximize the use of existing Department of Agriculture programs; and develop a market promotion strategy for domestically produced produce.”

The new steps come after Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried testified at a USTR hearing, where she outlined the impacts of Mexican imports on Florida farmers.

Fried, a Democrat, has been critical of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the Trump Administration's replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement. Fried said the USMCA did little to protect the state’s agriculture industry from foreign competition.

Florida leads the nation in tomato production and is the No. 2 state for strawberries.