USTR asks ITC to investigate effects of squash, cucumber imports
On Dec. 4, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer issued a letter to the Chairman of the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) requesting investigations into the import of cucumbers and squash and the effect on the domestic seasonal markets. The request is to investigate the monthly price trends, including an analysis and comparison of the prices of domestically produced products and imported products.
In September, a comprehensive plan to support American producers of seasonal and perishable fruits and vegetables was released from the Office of the United State Trade Representative (USTR), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Commerce (Commerce). The plan was developed after growers provided more than 300 written submissions, and more than 60 witnesses testifying during two days of hearings.
In mid-November, U.S. Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, along with Reps. Austin Scott, Buddy Carter, Rick Allen and Sanford Bishop, asked Lighthizer to broaden the Section 332 investigation for strawberries and bell pepper to include the impact on seasonal cucumber and squash imports on Southeastern markets.
“While our fight against unfair trade practices with Mexico is far from over, this is a great day for Georgia fruit and vegetable growers. We now have investigations under way for blueberries, strawberries and green peppers, and a request from USTR to also investigate squash and cucumbers,” said Charles Hall, Executive Director of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association.