Southwest Members Of Congress Decry Produce Protection Measures

Published: Wednesday, June 26, 2019 - 9:03am

A group of 23 members of Congress, including much of Arizona’s delegation, recently penned a letter decrying the potential impacts of protectionist agricultural policies.

So-called seasonality provisions would add dumping duties to certain produce imports at certain times of the year in order to protect domestic growers. In the view of critics — including a number of southwestern congress members — that could spell higher prices for consumers and danger for the ultimate approval of the renegotiated NAFTA deal.

“That could be devastating for produce, it would be devastating for the imports from Mexico,” said Britton Clarke, president of the Border Trade Alliance, a pro-free trade advocacy group.

Officials in President Donald Trump’s administration may be looking to include seasonal protection measures in the new NAFTA agreement’s implementing legislation, according to the mid-June letter sent to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

Last summer, the U.S. dropped demands that such measures be included in the new deal, known as the USMCA.

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