12.20.19

Traverse City Cherry Grower Praises Peters’ Efforts To Crack Down on Unfair Trade Practices in Latest Installment of ‘On the Job for Michigan’

TRAVERSE CITY, MI — U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today released the latest installment of “On the Job for Michigan,” a series highlighting his office’s work supporting Michiganders across the state.

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.

Nels – who is CFO and VP of Cherry Ke, Inc. and Cherries R Us, Inc. – says he supports Peters’ bipartisan Self-Initiation Trade Enforcement Act that would create a task force within the Department of Commerce to investigate potential trade abuses for small and medium-sized industries.

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Click here to watch the full video.

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.

Peters met with cherry growers in the Grand Traverse area in April and early November of this year. He welcomed the Dried Tart Cherry Coalition’s anti-dumping and countervailing duty petitions filed in April, and applauded a preliminary decision by the ITC to institute tariffs against Turkish tart cherry exporters. In December, Peters and Nels Veliquette testified at a U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) hearing in support of Michigan cherry growers’ efforts to hold Turkish tart cherry exporters accountable for continually using unfair trade practices.

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

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