Florida Representatives Concerned About EU Grapefruit Tariffs

Ernie NeffGrapefruit

usda
Florida

Twenty-two members of the Florida congressional delegation, led by Reps. Darren Soto and Bill Posey, wrote a letter to Acting U.S. Trade Representative Maria Pagan expressing concerns over retaliatory tariffs placed by the European Union (EU) on U.S. agricultural products. The letter focused on the harm the EU tariffs could do to Florida grapefruit.

Here’s the full text of the letter: 

“We write today to express our continued concern over retaliatory tariffs placed by the European Union (EU) on a host of U.S. agriculture products, specifically the citrus industry, late last year in the wake of the ongoing Boeing/Airbus trade dispute between the United States and the EU.

“These tariffs have had a devastating impact on citrus, particularly Florida grapefruit, worsening the already difficult market conditions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Because fresh citrus and citrus juices are subject to the retaliatory tariff, fresh Florida grapefruit is among the most adversely impacted. Typically, 40% of Florida’s fresh grapefruit production is destined for EU markets. With the addition of a 25% retaliatory tariff on top of the existing 1.5% tariff (a 1,700 percent increase) exports of Florida grapefruit to one of their biggest markets has shrunk significantly.

“Without immediate relief there is a real possibility that the United States could lose the fresh grapefruit market in the EU to other countries that are not subject to this tariff. This would be devastating to Florida growers already hit hard by market conditions and disease pressure. Additionally, because of the drastic decline in U.S. grapefruit exports this season, there is a glut of fresh grapefruit in the domestic market causing a decline in prices to an already struggling industry. We believe it is critical the incoming administration work quickly to resolve this World Trade Organization dispute leading to the EU retaliatory tariffs and restore this important export market to Florida growers.

“As delegation members of the largest citrus producing state in the country, we urge your full and fair consideration on this most important matter. The loss of this industry would be devastating to Florida growers and our nation.”

See Florida grower and packer Dan Richey’s reaction to the EU tariffs on grapefruit here.

Source: U.S. Rep. Darren Soto

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