Florida Congressman Ted Yoho on April 28 asked President Donald Trump to temporarily halt imports of all Mexican, Central American and South American food products. He cited “unprecedented circumstances due to the coronavirus pandemic” in asking the President to invoke a force majeure motion to stop the importation. Force majeure is defined as an event that can’t be anticipated or controlled.
“At this critical juncture in American agriculture, extraordinary measures should be taken to help preserve America’s food producers,” Yoho wrote. “When we already have a glut of products within our borders, and our farmers are having to plow up their harvest-ready crops because of a market collapse and factors outside of their control, foreign agricultural products should not continue to be imported.”
See Yoho’s full letter here.
Although Yoho didn’t refer to orange juice in his letter, many in the Florida citrus industry have complained in the past year about orange juice imports from Mexico and other countries harming them economically. Some Florida processors contracted to buy much foreign juice after Hurricane Irma hit Florida hard in 2017, thinking that Florida growers wouldn’t be able to meet future demand. Florida citrus production recovered better than expected, but many growers without existing contracts weren’t able to sell their fruit for juice at a reasonable price, if at all. The imported juice was cited as the reason for the low prices or non-existent offers.