Bill Aims to Prohibit Citrus Imports From China

Ernie NeffLegislative, Trade

Greg Steube

Florida Congressman Greg Steube on June 11 introduced the U.S. Citrus Protection Act, legislation that would prohibit the importation of commercially produced fresh citrus fruit from China.

“As farmers and ranchers in Florida and across the country are struggling to cope with the decreased demand for their products as a result of the economic shutdowns, more than ever we need to put America first and cannot give foreign entities a competitive advantage,” Steube said. “Communist China is responsible for the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent economic damages that have impacted our nation’s farmers, and now they are trying to profit off of our hardship.”

Steube said Florida’s 17th District, which he represents, produces more citrus than any other congressional district in the United States. The district covers all of Charlotte, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Highlands and Okeechobee counties along with portions of Lee, Polk and Sarasota. 

The full text of Steube’s bill can be found here.

Legislators and agricultural trade associations previously expressed their displeasure with the federal authorization in April of the import of five types of fresh citrus from China. The authorization was granted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). APHIS stated that those varieties “can be safely imported into the United States under a systems approach to protect against the introduction of plant pests.” The import authorization came as part of a Phase One trade agreement between the United States and China.

Learn more about a bipartisan effort in April by 17 U.S. representatives from Florida to have U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue reconsider the authorization of the fresh imports from China. Read about leaders of citrus and other agricultural groups in Florida joining Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried in strongly opposing the USDA decision.

Source: Representative Greg Steube   

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