Vice President Mike Pence visited Jacksonville, Florida to promote the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement, as the Trump Administration faces bipartisan labor, environmental, and agricultural opposition to the deal. Commissioner Nikki Fried offered the following statement:
“This supposed ‘better deal’ is a bad deal for Florida farmers, and could put farms out of business. Smoke and mirrors from the White House won’t help our proud but struggling farmers. In a state that depends on agriculture, we can’t afford a trade agreement that allows Mexico to continue dumping artificially low-priced seasonal crops into our country. Mexico’s unfair trade practices and lower safety standards and labor costs are putting Florida’s seasonal crop growers at risk. That’s why I’ve encouraged Florida’s Congressional delegation to not support the USMCA until our seasonal crop growers get the protections they deserve. If the Trump Administration wants to put America first, they should put Florida’s farmers first, and help them compete on a level playing field. Until that happens, this new deal isn’t anything new – just a worsening of 25 years of NAFTA’s failures.”
Commissioner Fried has also been critical of President Trump’s China tariffs threatening a potential new deal exporting Florida blueberries to China. Last week, she spoke before Congress on the need to protect Florida farmers from unfair trade practices.
Agriculture is Florida’s second largest industry, with a $132 billion economic impact and 47,000 farms supporting 2 million jobs. Florida farmers growing seasonal, perishable crops like strawberries, blueberries, and peppers are highly affected by unfair trade practices.