Hastings and Reichert Rally Congressional Support to Keep Indonesia Market Open
21 Members of Congress urge USTR to use all resources to maintain market access
Jun 14, 2012 -
Representatives Doc Hastings and Dave Reichert were joined by 19 colleagues in sending a letter to Ambassador Ron Kirk last week. The letter urges him to pursue all available resources in maintaining access to the Indonesian market for U.S. fresh produce.
“Our growers have proven time and again that they are competitive in the global marketplace when given a level playing field,” said Hastings. “The United States must hold our trading partners accountable and fight back against these clearly protectionist policies that are being proposed by Indonesia. As the harvest season begins, our growers need certainty that this important market will remain open.”
The Indonesian Ministries of Agriculture and Trade have proposed new import-licensing requirements and a limit on the number of ports through which fresh produce, including apples, pears and cherries, can enter. Specifically, Indonesia has proposed closing off the Port of Jakarta, which handles 90% of U.S. produce imports into Indonesia, to foreign produce.
“Agriculture is crucial to the economy of Washington State and to that of the entire country. To create and sustain jobs, American growers must be able to compete on a fair playing field to sell in foreign markets such as Indonesia,” said Reichert. “I am pleased to work with the U.S. Trade Representative and my colleagues to resolve this important matter.”
Indonesia has consistently been one of the top five importers of Washington state apples. In 2010, the country was a $57 million market for Pacific Northwest apples, pears and cherries.
This bipartisan letter, written by Hastings and Reichert, urges Ambassador Kirk to use all available resources to prevent Indonesia from implementing the above policies and to provide certainty for U.S. growers in this vital market.
In addition to Hastings and Reichert, the letter is signed by Laura Richardson (D-CA), Sam Farr (D-CA), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Greg Walden (R-OR), Jeff Denham (R-CA), Elton Gallegly (R-CA), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Devin Nunes (R-CA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Lois Capps (D-CA), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), John Garamendi (D-CA), Rick Larsen (D-WA), Kevin McCarthy (R-WA), Dennis Cardoza (D-CA), Daniel Lungren (R-CA), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Adam Smith (D-WA), and Mary Bono Mack (R-CA).