Ambassador Lighthizer, Secretary Perdue, Secretary Ross, and members of the Hearing Committee, thank you for holding these two virtual hearings and for providing me the opportunity to submit this statement for the record. My name is Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy. I represent Florida’s 7th congressional district. I am a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, and the Subcommittee on Trade. My district is home to the headquarters of the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association.
Ambassador Lighthizer and I have held many constructive conversations on this issue, both during his appearances before the Ways and Means Committee and in more informal settings. I deeply appreciated Ambassador Lighthizer’s January 9, 2020 letter to me and other members of Florida’s congressional delegation, pledging—within 60 days of the USMCA’s entry into force on July 1, 2020—to release “a plan to implement effective and timely remedies necessary to address any trade distorting policies that may be contributing to unfair pricing in the U.S. market and harming U.S. producers of seasonal and perishable products.” These hearing are designed to inform the contents of that plan.
As background, I am a Member of Congress who believes that global trade, within a rules-based trading system, strengthens our economy and our security.
I am also someone who deeply values the United States’ partnership with Mexico, our neighbor and our friend. A strong and prosperous Mexico is in America’s interest.
Against this backdrop, my view on this issue is simple and straightforward.
First, based on the available information, there is a reasonable basis to believe that Florida’s seasonal producers are suffering significant economic harm because of unfair Mexican trade practices. The U.S. government should conduct an independent investigation to confirm this information.
Second, and of critical importance from my perspective, these producers do not have meaningful access to typical trade remedies under Title VII of the Tariff Act of 1930, a defect in law that H.R. 101, the Defending Domestic Produce Production Act, seeks to cure.
A right is meaningless without a remedy. Since our producers cannot fairly access trade remedies under Title VII of the Tariff Act, to the extent that Mexico’s trade practices would otherwise have been covered by those remedial provisions, then I urge the administration to fulfill its pledge “to implement effective and timely remedies necessary to address any trade distorting policies that may be . . . harming U.S. producers of seasonal and perishable products.”