Lawmakers led by Florida Senator Marco Rubio recently asked U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to investigate the flood of surplus agricultural products from Mexico. The request, filed as a petition under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, says actions by Mexico over the last two decades have burdened and restricted U.S. commerce. The lawmakers say that for more than 20 years, Mexico has leveraged heavy subsidies and low wages in a scheme to conduct a “conquest of external markets” and displace Florida’s seasonal and perishable agricultural industry from the domestic U.S. market. Specifically, the petition names fruits and vegetables grown with subsidized horticultural infrastructure and other forms of Mexican government support as a marketplace burden for U.S. growers, and may allow Mexico the ability to set market prices that harm American consumers. Provisions of the amended Trade Act of 1974 gives USTR authority to investigate and redress unreasonable trade practices that burden and restrict U.S. commerce.
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