DORAL, Fla. – South Florida farmers, afraid for their livelihoods, took their tractors to the Trump National Doral on Saturday, hoping to get the president’s attention.
The farmers feel left out of the new trade deal with Canada and Mexico.
They said the deal leaves out protections for the South Florida vegetable growers who feed the nation in winter, allowing for cheaper produce from Mexico to be dumped into the market as direct competition.
They are asking President Donald Trump for a deal that is fair trade, not free trade.
“Those products take a lot of labor and our labor is costing us from 10 to 15 times what Mexican labor is costing, and that’s one of the major problems that’s happening,” said Paul Dimare of Dimare Fresh.
The new trade agreement gives U.S. farmers greater access to the Canadian dairy market. But it keeps a NAFTA dispute-resolution process that the United States 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; officials said they understood the concerns but there was nothing they could do.
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.