Putnam Continues Call for Feds to Lift Anti-Tomato Deal
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Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam says President Obama is dragging his feet to help Florida and American tomato farmers.
In an editorial published this week, Putnam continued his efforts to get the federal government to accept the tomato industry’s request to void a failed trade agreement that has allowed cheaper produce to be imported from Mexico.
“The future of U.S. tomato growers and their workers is being held hostage by Washington. Right now, the Obama administration has taken the historic step of delaying, and potentially denying, a request by U.S. growers to exercise their rights under U.S. trade laws to fight unfair trade,” Putnam wrote.
“Rather than standing up for our industry, the Obama administration appears ready to cater to foreign growers and jeopardize production and jobs across Florida and around the country.”
Read the column here.
In July, Putnam urged Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank to accept the tomato industry’s request to dump the 2008 agreement fromgrowers to suspend their 1996 request for relief from unfairly traded imports of fresh tomatoes from Mexico.
By suspending the anti-dumping agreement in 2008 -- a move supported by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services -- the growers anticipated trading partners wouldn’t undercut U.S. prices.
Putnam has noted that tomato imports have reached $1.8 billion a year, three times the amount in 1996.
“Already suffering from weak demand in a difficult economy, Florida’s tomato growers cannot compete in a market flooded by unprecedented imports of tomatoes from Mexico at prices well below the cost of production,” Putnam wrote Blank in July.
Reach Jim Turner at email@example.com or at (772) 215-9889.