Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam sent a letter Thursday to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer that backed President Donald Trump’s push for a “more equitable North American Free Trade Agreement” with Canada and Mexico.
“As you are aware, producers of perishable and seasonal agricultural products in Florida and other regions have been decimated by unfair trading practices resulting in a strong and unprecedented growth in imports from Mexico,” Putnam wrote. “Family farms in Florida and other states have found no relief from these unfair practices in our current trade laws or the current NAFTA agreement.”
Trump campaigned on a need to renegotiate the 24-year-old trade agreement, claiming the pact is unfair to the U.S. He has recently started to tie the deal to immigration issues.
In May 2016, Enterprise Florida, the state’s public-private business-recruitment agency, led a four-day mission to Mexico City that included 92 business leaders and officials. In announcing the trip, Enterprise Florida said NAFTA had increased bilateral trade between Mexico and the U.S. by more than 500 percent, with Florida goods that are “ideal for trade including: automotive parts, aviation parts, education services, IT services, medical devices, telecommunications equipment, security services and equipment for transportation.”
Lighthizer is slated to meet Friday in Washington with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and Mexican Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo.