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International Commission to Track Foreign Cherry Imports
USAgNet - 06/01/2020

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Gary Peters (D-MI) announced the U.S. International Trade Commission will begin tracking foreign imports in order to accurately measure the impact of trade on Michigan's tart cherry industry. The decision comes after the Senators urged the Commission to begin tracking this data.

In January, Senators Stabenow and Peters blasted the Commission's decision not to impose tariffs against Turkish tart cherry exporters. Turkey has dumped low-quality dried cherries into U.S. markets, creating a trade imbalance that has harmed Michigan cherry growers. As part of its justification report, the Commission claimed they did not have specific enough data on dried tart cherry imports to include in their investigation. To fix this, Senators Stabenow and Peters urged the Commission to collect additional statistical information to allow for better monitoring of dried cherry imports. The request was approved and will go into effect on July 1.

"Michigan's world-famous cherry industry has struggled because of Turkey's unfair trade practices," said Senator Stabenow. "This decision is a critical step in holding foreign competitors accountable and protecting our growers."

"Unfair trade practices have completely devastated our cherry growers in Michigan. By previously not collecting all the available information on dried cherry imports, the ITC was deepening the misleading discrepancies and further compromising what should be a fair market," said Senator Peters. "After pressing for action, I am pleased that the ITC will now be gathering this additional information so that our growers and workers can compete on a level playing field."

"We know unfair trade practices from foreign competitors have completely destroyed the ability for cherry farmers to do business," said Nels Veliquette CFO and VP of Cherry Ke, Inc. and Cherries R Us, Inc. "I appreciate Senators Peters and Stabenow for keeping up the pressure on the ITC. This is data that should have already been collected, and I'm glad that the ITC will be receiving a more complete picture on just how much the trade imbalance has hurt Michigan's farmers."

As Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, Senator Stabenow has repeatedly pressed federal trade officials to enforce the rules to hold Turkey accountable. In addition to her work to improve trade policies, she pushed the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make a bonus purchase to provide immediate support for cherry growers affected by unfair foreign competition. She also authored a new provision in the bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill to ensure that imports have to meet the same standards as domestic products.

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