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Agriculture Press Release

May 12, 1999

Crawford Announces Meeting to Discuss Trade Issues

TALLAHASSEE Florida Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford today announced that he will host a June 4 meeting in Winter Haven scheduled by the U.S. Trade Representative and USDA for Florida farmers to express their concerns to federal officials over upcoming trade talks that will shape future international trade.

The daylong meeting is scheduled at the Nora Mayo Hall in Winter Haven and will be attended by high-ranking officials with both the U.S. Trade Representatives (USTR) office and USDA.

"I am encouraging as many Florida growers as possible to attend this session to let our federal officials know the issues that concern them as we embark on future trade discussions," Crawford said. "Trade is vital to our industry, and we want to make sure that future trade agreements are fair to our growers."

The meeting is the first of nine throughout the country that federal officials will attend prior to the important November 30 Ministerial Meeting in Seattle, which kicks off the next round of World Trade Organization negotiations.

Crawford said among his top priorities in upcoming trade talks are expanded market access for Florida agricultural products, special rules for perishable products, tariff equivalency, rapid dispute resolution and strict adherence to plant and animal pest and disease standards. Many other issues likely will be discussed at the June 4 session.

The session will begin at 9 a.m. and will adjourn at 4 p.m., with lunch available at the building. Those wishing to present comments to the USTR and USDA should register in advance with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services by calling Matt Dempsey at (850) 488-3022.

"Its critically important that both the USTR and USDA hear the concerns and needs of Florida in the global trade arena before our nation goes into the next multilateral trade negotiations. I hope that the auditorium is filled and am thankful to the USTR and USDA for their desire to reach out to Florida farmers," Crawford said.

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For more information:

Terence McElroy
(850) 488-3022


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