07/21/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/21/2021 12:55
WASHINGTON, DC - This week, Congressman Austin Scott (R-GA-08) joined Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA-36) in introducing the American Seasonal and Perishable Crop Support Act (H.R. 4580), which would help level the playing field for specialty crop growers who compete against below-market foreign imports. The legislation was drafted in concert with American growers who have seen drastic drops in production as cheap, foreign-subsidized imports have driven prices below a sustainable level.
'For years, Georgia's producers have struggled to compete with unfair trade practices, including our specialty crop producers who are seeing more and more foreign-subsidized produce dumped into U.S. markets below the cost of production,' said Rep. Austin Scott. 'The impact of these unfair trade practices has only been compounded by labor shortages and supply chain issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Food security is national security, and we must ensure we continue to support our American farmers and create a level playing field. That's why I'm proud to join Congressman Ruiz in introducing the American Seasonal and Perishable Crop Support Act, and I will continue fighting for our U.S. growers and our domestic food supply chain.'
'Our local agriculture industry and domestic food supply chain continues to be threatened by subsidized imports that make it difficult for American farmers to compete,' said Dr. Raul Ruiz. 'My bipartisan bill, the American Seasonal and Perishable Crop Support Act, will help level the playing field for our local growers and empower them to fight back against unfair foreign competition. Produce grown in the Coachella Valley helps feed Americans in every state, and I will continue fighting to ensure that Coachella Valley grown products are available in supermarkets across the country.'
'Georgia Farm Bureau welcomes the introduction of the American Seasonal and Perishable Crop Support Act. For too long, Georgia fruit, vegetable, and other specialty group producers have been negatively impacted by surging seasonal imports during our marketing windows, and despite the best efforts of these farmers and their representatives in Washington, very little has changed. We are grateful that Congressman Austin Scott is continuing to lead on this issue by offering a bill with Congressman Raul Ruiz that will help level the playing field for our farmer-members, and we look forward to working with them to secure its passage,' said Tom McCall, President, Georgia Farm Bureau.
'The Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association supports the American Seasonal and Perishable Crop Support Act which seeks to level the playing field for fruit and vegetable growers that have been impacted by seasonal imports. Our growers have suffered low prices year after year due to imports that appear at the time our growers are marketing their crops. Whether it's squash, bell peppers, cucumbers, blueberries or other specialty crops, land grant university and state government data reflect the negative economic impact these seasonal imports have on Georgia and Southeastern growers. We appreciate Congressman Austin Scott's (R-GA) and Congressman Raul Ruiz's (D-CA) leadership on this issue,' said Charles Hall, Executive Director of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association.
Over the last several years, Rep. Scott has pressed the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and International Trade Commission to address unfair trade practices and level the playing field for American farmers, including sending several letters and advocating for changes that were not included in the final version of the Unites States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA).
Last year, Rep. Scott testified before a virtual USTR field hearing for Georgia farmers about the impact of unfair trade practices on growers of seasonal and perishable produce. During the hearing, Rep. Scott and Eighth District farmers stressed the importance of supporting American growers by addressing the dumping of fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly from Mexico, into U.S. markets below the cost of production. You can click here to read more.