Local reps included in bipartisan push to expand ag exports

The Sun-Gazette

Kevin McCarthy, Jim Costa join over 100 House members to issue letter expanding fact finding mission on decline of American exports

WASHINGTON D.C. – Early last month over 100 members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed a letter addressing carriers declining to ship United States agricultural products, from United States ports.

In the March 9 letter addressed Michael A. Khouri, chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, congresspersons voiced their frustration over vessel-operating common carriers (VOCCs) leaving U.S. ports without American exports.

“Over the past year, American producers, exporters, and entire economic sectors have grappled with widespread delays, bottlenecks and increasing fees at our ports,” the letter stated. “These challenges are exacerbated by reports that VOCCs are delivering shipments to U.S. ports and then elected leave without refilling empty containers with American goods for export.”

The letter went on to state how the agricultural sector stands to be negatively effected the most.

“It is cost prohibitive for producers of these agricultural commodities, particularly perishable products, to use alternative methods to fulfill overseas contracts in a dependable and affordable manner,” the letter stated.

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy joined in the bipartisan effort and issued a letter of his own, highlighting the agricultural production of the Central Valley.

“The VOCCs are an integral link between Californian agricultural exporters and their overseas customers, and actions that VOCCs take directly impact our communities, as Kern County and Tulare County are the top second and third largest agricultural producing counties in California, respectively,” McCarthy stated.

Representative Jim Costa (D-Fresno) issued a statement conveying a sense of urgency.

“California is a leading exporter of agricultural commodities, totaling over $42 billion in annual receipts,” said Costa. “Food is a national security issue and we cannot allow for disruptions to this system. This letter sends a strong bipartisan message to quickly investigate and resolve any issues that impact our economy and ability to feed the world.”

These concerns are just some of the latest when it comes to imports and exports. Last March, the Federal Maritime Commission launched Fact Finding No. 29, “International Ocean Transportation Supply Chain Engagement,” to investigate all the congestion, bottlenecks and fees seen at U.S. ports. Last November, Fact Finding No. 29 was expanded to include reports of the decline to ship American exports.

Start typing and press Enter to search