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Following Push from Peters & Stabenow, International Trade Commission to Track Foreign Cherry Imports

After the Senators’ request, the Commission will take action to more accurately measure impact of trade on Michigan’s tart cherry industry

DETROIT, MI -- U.S. Senators Gary Peters (MI) and Debbie Stabenow (MI) today announced that 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, the Senators 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, the Senators 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.

“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.”

“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.”

“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."

In December, Peters testified, along with Michigan cherry growers, at a Commission hearing in Washington, DC on ensuring a level playing field and holding Turkish tart cherry exporters accountable. Last year, Peters reintroduced the Self-Initiation Trade Enforcement Act with U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) to establish a task force within the U.S. Department of Commerce to investigate potential trade abuses throughout the international marketplace. The bipartisan measure would also better ensure that the Department has the resources needed to support American businesses looking to expand both here at home and throughout the international marketplace. Peters previously discussed the issue of cherry dumping directly with President Trump, who called Peters’ legislation “a fantastic idea.” Peters toured Shoreline Fruit’s facilities in Williamsburg last year and highlighted his legislation.