June 26, 2019 / Modified jun 26, 2019 10:47 a.m.

Southwest members of Congress decry produce protection measures

Critics say provisions could mean higher prices for consumers and endanger approval of the renegotiated NAFTA.

360 made mexico stamp File image of a box of produce from Mexico.
AZPM Staff

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A group of 23 members of Congress, including much of Arizona’s delegation, recently penned a letter decrying the potential impacts of protectionist agricultural policies.

So-called seasonality provisions would add dumping duties to certain produce imports at certain times of the year in order to protect domestic growers. In the view of critics — including a number of southwestern members of Congress — that could spell higher prices for consumers and danger for the ultimate approval of the renegotiated NAFTA deal.

“That could be devastating for produce. It would be devastating for the imports from Mexico,” said Britton Clarke, president of the Border Trade Alliance, a pro-free trade advocacy group.

Officials in President Donald Trump’s administration may be looking to include seasonal protection measures in the new NAFTA agreement’s implementing legislation, according to the mid-June letter sent to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

Last summer, the U.S. dropped demands that such measures be included in the new deal, known as the USMCA.

Fronteras Desk
This story is from the Fronteras Desk, a collaboration of Southwestern public radio stations, including NPR 89.1. Read more from the Fronteras Desk.
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