October 25, 2022

USTR, USDA to pursue avenues to assist seasonal produce industry

The Office of the United States Trade Representative announced on October 23, 2022 that it will pursue avenues to assist the Southeast seasonal produce industry in coordination with the United States Department of Agriculture after Members of Congress requested an examination of certain issues in a September 8, 2022, Section 301 petition. 

The Biden Administration recognizes the challenges the Southeast producers have faced recently, which have only increased since Hurricane Ian made landfall earlier this month. USTR will establish a private-sector industry advisory panel to recommend measures to promote the competitiveness of producers of seasonal and perishable produce in the southeastern United States. USTR and USDA will work conjointly with the advisory panel and Members of Congress to develop possible administrative actions and legislation that would provide real benefits to this struggling industry. 

The Section 301 petition, which was filed by certain Members of Florida’s Congressional delegation, alleged that the Government of Mexico has adopted an “export targeting” scheme aimed at Florida produce. The 301 statute requires that USTR must make a decision on whether to move forward with an investigation within 45 days and it will also include a private-sector advisory panel as a specific response to export targeting. Although USTR could not conclude in the 45-day statutory period that a formal 301 investigation would be effective and is not opening an investigation at this time, USTR is still moving forward with an advisory panel and will work with the petitioners and producers to examine the issues raised and to consider any further actions that may be appropriate. 

USTR will publish a formal notice in the Federal Register summarizing USTR’s response to the petition. 

Crane Trade Services can assist you with questions regarding this matter.  For assistance please contact CWTSConsulting@craneww.com.

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