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Peters Applauds Tariff Decision to Protect Michigan Cherry Growers

Michigan Cherry Growers Have Been Devastated by Unfair Trade Practices; Peters Introduced Bipartisan Bill to Self-Initiate Trade Investigations to Protect Small and Medium-Sized Industries

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today applauded a preliminary decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to institute tariffs against Turkish tart cherry exporters, which has used unfair trade practices to undermine Michigan cherry growers. Earlier this year, the Dried Tart Cherry Trade Committee filed anti-dumping and countervailing duty petitions with the ITC and U.S. Department of Commerce.

“Michigan cherry growers are being regularly undercut by unfair competition. It is past time that the playing field is leveled, and I’m glad that this step is being taken to protect a key part of Michigan’s economy,” said Senator Peters. “However, Michigan cherry growers – who are already under tight budgets – should not be forced to pay millions of dollars to elevate this issue and seek action. I’ll continue pushing to pass my bipartisan legislation to give the Commerce Department greater ability to self-initiate action against trade abuses.”

Currently, manufacturers and agricultural producers face unfair foreign competition from others that use practices including dumping and subsidies on imported goods. Dumping is an unfair trade practice where foreign competitors intentionally lower the price of their goods to make it harder for American companies that produce raw materials, manufactured goods and agricultural products to compete.

In February, Peters reintroduced the Self-Initiation Trade Enforcement Act. His bipartisan legislation with U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) would establish a task force within the U.S. Department of Commerce to investigate potential trade abuses throughout the international marketplace and better ensure it has the tools and abilities to support American businesses looking to expand both here at home and around the globe. Peters spoke on the Senate floor urging his colleagues to pass his legislation.

While the Commerce Department holds the right to self-initiate antidumping and countervailing duty investigations, the power is rarely exercised. Peters’ bipartisan legislation is modeled after a recommendation within the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission’s (USCC) 2016 report to Congress, and would help reduce the negative effects on targeted businesses. The Self-Initiation Trade Enforcement Act would create a team solely focused on studying trade data and subsequently listing potential disturbing trade patterns for formal investigation, with an emphasis on cases impacting small and medium-sized businesses.

Peters discussed the issue of cherry dumping directly with President Trump, who called Peters’ legislation “a fantastic idea.” In April, Peters toured Shoreline Fruit’s facilities in Williamsburg and highlighted his Self-Initiation Trade Enforcement Act and efforts to target unfair trade practices by foreign competitors that undercut Michigan businesses and agricultural producers.

The Department of Commerce is currently scheduled to announce issue its final determinations on the matter in December. A fact sheet is published here.