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Spano Fights for Plant City Strawberry Growers

Press Release

Date: Aug. 13, 2020
Location: Plant City, FL

Today, U.S. Representative Ross Spano (FL-15) participated in a virtual hearing to discuss current practices harming American seasonal and perishable produce growers. He delivered his testimony alongside industry leaders and subject matter experts to the United States Trade Representative (USTR), Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, and U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, all of whom offered their own remarks.

"For Plant City, strawberries are more than just an industry--it's our history and our passion. I will continue to protect the livelihoods of our people and fight against foreign governments seeking to hurt our community," said Rep. Spano.

Spano secured the hearing to ensure Plant City's Strawberry growers had the opportunity to directly redress grievances with top Trump Administration officials about their experience with product dumping, specifically from Mexico. In recent years, Mexico has heavily subsidized their fruit and vegetable sector, leading to an excessive amount of "dumping' of fruits and vegetables into the U.S. market below the cost of production. This unfair practice makes it very difficult for U.S. growers to remain competitive.

"From the outset, Congressman Ross Spano has been one of the biggest advocates for Florida growers, especially on the issue of unfair trade," stated Florida Farm Bureau President, John L. Hoblick. "His impassioned testimony today reflects the urgency of the problem facing our specialty crops and his commitment to find a solution. We are thankful for Rep. Spano's strong support of Florida agriculture and fair trade."

Spano has been leading on this issue given his representation of Eastern Hillsborough which includes Plant City, the "Winter Strawberry Capital of the World'. In Congress, he's worked with colleagues and the Trump Administration to address these ongoing unfair trade practices.

"The Florida Strawberry Growers Association (FSGA) applauds Congressman Spano for his passionate leadership in the effort to provide durable and effective trade relief for farmers that grow seasonal and perishable commodities, including strawberries," said Kenneth Parker, Executive Director FSGA.