State Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam will voice concerns Thursday about the potential impact on Florida’s produce industry of the renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada. Putnam, who has been a critic of the original agreement known as NAFTA, is slated to appear before the U.S. International Trade Commission.
When President Donald Trump’s administration announced a renegotiated and rebranded trade deal in October, Putnam said more work was needed to help the state’s farmers compete against growers in Mexico. “I am disappointed that this new agreement has no new protections for Florida fruit and vegetable producers, who for too long have suffered from Mexico’s unfair trade practices despite our best efforts,” Putnam said after the reworked deal was announced. Putnam has argued for years that pepper and tomato growers and other Florida farmers have struggled against Mexican counterparts who swamp the U.S. market each winter with low-cost produce.
The revised trade deal, which needs congressional approval, includes numerous issues, ranging from auto manufacturing and Canadian dairy imports to a dispute-settlement system.
Trump, who campaigned in 2016 arguing that NAFTA was poorly negotiated and hurting American workers and manufacturers, has proposed naming the revised pact as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
Source: News Service of Florida