On the Job for Michigan: Nels Veliquette
Nels Veliquette grew up on a cherry farm in Traverse City and now helps run his own cherry business with his family. He explains how Michigan cherry growers are facing devastating consequences as a result of illegal dumping of dried tart cherries from Turkey. He says that when an industry of their size discovers unfair trade practices from a foreign country, they have to pay the millions of dollars required to bring a case to the International Trade Commission (ITC). This cost falls on the growers and producers who are already navigating issues with weather, pests and other economic issues. Senator Peters’ bipartisan legislation would help enforce trade laws for small and medium-sized businesses that are undercut by unfair trade practices. Under current law, the Commerce Department has the authority to self-initiate investigations into dumping and subsidies, but rarely utilizes this authority. The majority of their investigations begin only after companies or industry representatives lodge formal complaints. Small and medium-sized businesses, including agricultural producers, manufacturers, parts suppliers, and paper goods producers, often lack the resources needed to identify unfair practices and bring them to the attention of the Commerce Department.