Government affairs insights for floral
On Wednesday, Sept. 20, the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee held a hearing on, “Reforming the Generalized System of Preferences to Safeguard U.S. Supply Chains and Combat China.” The Subcommittee discussed the reauthorization of the Generalized System of Preferences to diversify supply chains with developing countries and reduce U.S. reliance on China. In addition, many members highlighted the importance of GSP as a negotiating tool for the promotion of U.S. agricultural exports to GSP beneficiary countries. There was bipartisan consensus about the urgency of GSP’s renewal and reform, while also acknowledging trade has significantly evolved since the program was originally introduced through the Trade Act of 1974. Members discussed ways to update GSP requirements such as rules of origin, competitive need limitations and beneficiary eligibility, with emphasis on digital trade and protectionism. Another topic discussed included the importance of renewing the Miscellaneous Tariff Bills, which is seen as a complimentary program and typically is reauthorized on the same vehicle as GSP. Some Democrats stressed the importance of renewing the Trade Adjustment Assistance as part of any package that includes GPS. In conjunction to the recent hearing, IFPA held their Annual Washington Conference where members of the floral industry went to the hill to meet with members to advocate for the reauthorization of the GSP program.
On Friday, Sept. 15, the Department of Labor released a notice of proposed rulemaking to improve protections for workers in the H-2A temporary agricultural program. Among the proposed changes are requiring new disclosures on recruitment, making new wage rates applicable sooner, allowing workers to access representation in disciplinary cases, and preventing employers from confiscating workers’ travel documents. Public comments on the proposed rule will be accepted until Nov. 14. Interested parties can submit comments.