Friday, October 3, 2014
House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy: illegal smuggling of California almonds is undercutting Kern County producers, and he calls on India to reduce its tariff on U.S. grown almonds
House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy gives us his weekly update from Capitol Hill. In his own words:
"This week, I was honored to be able to travel to the United States Naval Academy (USNA) in Annapolis, Maryland where I visited with eleven midshipmen that I nominated for attendance. Having lunch with them along with the entire USNA Brigade is something that I will always remember. I also met with USNA Superintendent, Vice Admiral Ted Carter to discuss the important role service
"These future leaders from our community will be serving and defending our nation in an increasingly dangerous world, and it is a reminder of the commitment these young men and women have made to our country.
"I also met this week with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman about the importance of opening up markets for our local farmers.
"The blessings of Mother Nature have helped the Central Valley become the largest fruit, nut, and vegetable producer in the country. But like so much of the food we grow here, it often helps feed the world. In particular, our almonds are very popular in India – one of the most populous countries in the world and one whose economy is growing exponentially. Needless to say, these conditions offer a boon to our producers.
"Unfortunately, illegal smuggling of California almonds is undercutting our producers. To combat this, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has the ability to negotiate with the Indian government to reduce the tariff on U.S.-produced almonds thereby removing a major incentive for smuggling. In fact, in discussions with my staff, the Indian Embassy has expressed interest in doing this.
"While only the Indians can decide to lower their tariff, I asked Ambassador Michael Froman, USTR’s top official, in a meeting this week to use every means at his disposal to execute a potential agreement with the Indians. And the next day, I met with the Indian Prime Minister, who was visiting the U.S. After the meeting I handed a letter to Indian Ambassador to the United States reiterating my strong support for lowering the tariffs on U.S. almonds.
"This week is a reminder that our community no doubt has a worldwide impact as we continue to feed the world and defend our nation.