Speaking to the Gulf Coast Citrus Growers Association annual dinner in Fort Myers at the end of last week, U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., went to bat for a bill to protect specialty crop growers from competition from Mexico.
At the start of the year, three members of the Florida delegation--Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan and Democrat U.S. Rep. Al Lawson--brought back a bill to protect specialty crop growers from competition from Mexico.
Back in October, Rubio, Lawson, U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., and then U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., unveiled the “Agricultural Trade Improvement Act" which would adjust the Tariff Act of 1930 to “allow American specialty crop growers to request the imposition of antidumping or countervailing duties.” In January, Rubio, Buchanan and Lawson brought out the "Defending Domestic Produce Production Act." a similar proposal which would ease certain thresholds to allow Florida farmers to petition the Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission to investigate illegal subsidies and dumping of Mexican fruits and vegetables in the U.S. market.”
Steube is one of 30 cosponsors to the bill and, on Friday, he stressed his support of it.
“Given my background in agriculture, I know the importance of farming in our community—agriculture is the lifeblood of Florida and I’m so proud to represent the industry in Washington, DC and to fight for these priorities in Congress,” said Steube. “I’m working on a number of issues important to groups like the Gulf Coast Citrus Growers Association, including the Defending Domestic Produce Production Act which will allow for seasonal growers to collectively petition and lodge trade complaints to help combat Mexican, Chinese, and Brazilian oranges that come into the United States. I’m a cosponsor of this bill and I know the importance of getting provisions like this passed for our farmers.”
Back in January, the bill was sent to the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, on which Buchanan sits, which referred it to the U.S. House Trade Subcommittee.
Steube also stressed water quality, backing efforts in Tallahassee to fund septic to sewer conversions. He also praised the association which includes citrus growers in Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee Counties.
“Trade groups life Gulf Coast Citrus Growers Association provide growers in our community with great support and resources and I’m so thankful that my constituents have them as a resource here in the 17th Congressional District,” said Steube who was first elected to Congress last year.
Steube represents a district which produces more citrus than any other in the nation.
“Agriculture is the backbone of Florida’s thriving economy and groups like Gulf Citrus give growers a united voice to advocate on important issues,” Steube said.