Bill to Prohibit Chinese Citrus Imports Reintroduced
Citrus Industry – U.S. Rep. Greg Steube of Florida on April 6 reintroduced the U.S. Citrus Protection Act to prohibit the importation of commercially produced fresh citrus fruit originating from China.
“Floridians annually produce millions of cartons of citrus fruits, millions of gallons of citrus juices and hundreds of thousands of citrus byproducts, right here in the USA,” Steube said. “It’s unacceptable that we allow our adversary to import high pest-risk citrus, to the detriment of U.S. producers. My bill puts America’s farmers, growers and producers first by banning the importation of Chinese citrus.”
Steube originally introduced the bill in June 2020. At that time, he stated, “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 U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in April 2020 authorized the importation of five types of commercially produced fresh citrus fruit from China into the continental United States. 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 2020 by 17 U.S. representatives from Florida to have then-U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue reconsider the authorization of the fresh imports from China.