MCLEAN, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) today urged the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to approve two petitions seeking permanent duty-free access for frozen broccoli from Ecuador. AFFI cautioned that without such action, U.S. food makers could face significant supply disruptions and higher costs, which could result in higher food bills for consumers.
“force U.S. companies to scramble for new sources of product, incur additional expenses, and reduce their workforces to absorb added costs, with consumers faced with potential supply shortages and increased prices at the grocery store.”
AFFI voiced its support for the petitions, one filed by Superior Foods International, an AFFI-member company, at a USTR hearing held to determine whether to amend the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program. The GSP program allows duty-free access to the U.S. market for hundreds of imported products from developing economies, such as Ecuador.
AFFI Director of Regulatory and International Affairs John T. Allan stressed the need for USTR to take action to ensure continued duty-free access for Ecuadorian frozen broccoli, noting that nearly 95 percent of frozen broccoli consumed in America is imported with Ecuador serving as a primary supplier.
A current trade pact that provides certain Ecuadorian products with duty-free access to the U.S. market is set to expire in July, and may not be renewed by Congress. Allan cautioned that the resulting increase in import tariffs on Ecuadorian broccoli would “force U.S. companies to scramble for new sources of product, incur additional expenses, and reduce their workforces to absorb added costs, with consumers faced with potential supply shortages and increased prices at the grocery store.”
“Obviously, these outcomes are undesirable, therefore AFFI urges USTR to grant duty-free status for Ecuadorian broccoli through the GSP as the best possible solution,” said Allan.
The American Frozen Food Institute is the national trade association promoting and representing the interests of all segments of the frozen food industry. AFFI works to foster industry development and growth, and advocates before legislative and regulatory entities on the industry’s behalf. More information can be found at www.affi.org.