Last week, President Casey Creamer and Strategic Advisor Joel Nelsen were in Washington, D.C. as part of the United Fresh Produce Association’s Washington Conference. The team participated in the Government Relations Council and held multiple congressional meetings with a focus on trade.
USTR Ag Ambassador Greg Doud briefed the fresh produce industry on the status of the USMCA, the Japan trade agreement, and the status of the China trade dispute. It was evident this administration is taking bold action related to addressing unfair trade not just for steel and aluminum, but with a hyper-focus on U.S. agriculture. During congressional meetings, members of both parties relayed support for the work of Ambassador Robert Lighthizer and his team. This bodes well for the eventual passage of USMCA, which provides stability for our top trading partner and will establish a new foundation for fair and enforceable trade agreements moving forward.
The CCM team also held separate citrus related meetings related to USDA’s trade mitigation programs and the amount of imported citrus coming into the domestic market. Meetings were held with USDA Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky, Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach, and USDA-AMS Administrator Bruce Summers. Our message was simple; we support the administration’s efforts on trade however, more can be done to help citrus producers offset the financial hardship. We provided USDA the economic losses suffered during the last season as a result of the China dispute and the additional losses as a result of the ripple effect on the domestic market. The team is working to increase the amount of trade mitigation dollars for California citrus growers and to allow additional flexibility in the implementation of USDA’s programs.