New trade deal won't bring relief to south Miami-Dade County farmers

Agreement does not prevent Mexico from flooding market with produce

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Some South Florida farmers say good riddance to NAFTA, but a new trade deal announced by President Donald Trump Monday still does not protect the South Florida vegetable suppliers, who feed the nation in winter, from the cheaper produce that Mexico dumps into the market as direct competition. 

"They'll send in over a two-week period this huge volume of produce. It ruins the market for six weeks. We're dead. We can't survive. We need a quote system with tariffs," Paul Dimare of Dimare Fresh in Homestead.

With the demise of NAFTA, there is renewed concern now among the generations of farmers in south Miami-Dade County who support generally the president's economic plans.

The agreement reached Sunday gives U.S. farmers greater access to the Canadian dairy market. But it keeps a NAFTA dispute-resolution process that the U.S. wanted to jettison and offers Canada protection if Trump goes ahead with plans to impose tariffs on cars, trucks and auto parts imported into the United States.

The farmers wrote to the Trump Administration about the seasonal dumping issue but officials said they understood their concerns but there was nothing they could do.

Officials said that NAFTA and other global trade deals have hindered the agriculture industry in Miami-Dade County.

"We’ve gone from 40 farmers, 30,000 acres of production, down to less than 1,000 acres," said Jorge Abreu of the Dade County Farm Bureau.

Florida Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson, along with Rep. Carlos Curbelo in the House, have introduced legislation to address seasonal dumping. They say the adjustments would create a level playing field for Miami-Dade County growers.

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