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IMPORTS OF BEEF, FRESH AND FROZEN FROM UNITED STATES AND FOREIGN COUNTRIES

· (Net Weight, Thousands of pounds)

1979/60 - 1987/88

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Source: External Trade Statistics, Puerto Rico Planning Board.

Note: F.C. = Foreign countries.

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VALOR DE LAS IMPORTACIONES DE PRODUCTOS AGRICOLAS FRESCOS Y
ELABORADOS DE LOS PAISES DEL CARIBE (CBERA)

1986/87 - 1987/88

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* No pertenece al CBERA

** Flores, Sirops, Mieles, Avenas Nota: Paises beneficiarios para propósitos del Caribbean Basin Economic

Recovery Act (CBERA)

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The CHAIRMAN. You point out in your statement that there is dumping of products.

I'm sorry, on the next page we do have another witness, Mr. Alvarez, Mr. Antonio Alvarez, and then we will come back to you.

STATEMENT OF ANTONIO ALVAREZ, PUERTO RICO FARM

BUREAU, ACCOMPANIED BY ISIDRO TORO DOMINICCI, PUERTO RICO FARM BUREAU; SALVADOR FIO, PUERTO RICO FARM BUREAU; AND HARRY VAIL, VICE PRESIDENT, AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

Mr. ALVAREZ. Good afternoon, Chairman Johnston, and members of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. My name is Antonio Alvarez, and this afternoon I am accompanied by Isidro Toro and Salvador Fio and Mr. Harry Vail, Vice President of the American Farm Federation.

I am representing 20,000 Puerto Rican farmers who are committed to the development of Puerto Rico as a self-sustaining economic entity capable of feeding itself and generating revenues for themselves and for the food processing industry.

Puerto Rican agriculture is in crisis. In 1958 agriculture generated 137,000 direct jobs. In 1988 it generated only 35,000 jobs. This loss of more than 100,000 jobs is not only our problem, nor should we be solely responsible for its solution.

The U.S. Congress has, in large measure, contributed to this and should help to resolve it in concert with us. Puerto Rico is currently producing only between 30 and 35 percent of the foodstuffs consumed locally in spite of the efforts of the Puerto Rican government and specifically agriculture sectors during the past 50 years, we have not been able to significantly change this reality of dependence on imported foodstuffs.

The future looks bleak for the development of agriculture in Puerto Rico. It is in your power and our hands to remedy this state of affairs.

The main recent on-the-line measure has been the possibility of capturing a larger market share. The size of the Puerto Rican market is $4.2 billion a year. Our gross income from non-processed agricultural production is only $700 million per year. This, in turn, is the result of Puerto Rico being unable to forecast how much agricultural production will be imported into Puerto Rico at any given time from anywhere else.

This, in turn, is in large measure a result of the impact of international trade agreements protecting the agricultural production of other Caribbean countries and adversely affecting ours. The use of the commerce clause as a vehicle to permit this unjust competition against our producers, the lack of uniform and rigorous implementation of the FDA and EPA standards and subsidies.

It is obvious that Puerto Rico must develop its agricultural production to the fullest extent possible in order to increase efficiency and thus generate the economies of scale that will enable us to be more competitive. Unless we do this, the United States and the Puerto Rican taxpayer will bear a significant part of the burden this situation generates.

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