Sep 27, 2019Commerce ruling on Turkish imports boosts struggling US tart cherry growers
As domestic tart cherry growers struggle to turn a profit, a preliminary ruling by the U.S. Department of Commerce ordering Turkish exporters to escrow funds to cover new duties of 204.93 percent under the countervailing duty investigation and 541.29 percent under the anti-dumping investigation. This decision will level the playing field with imported product.
In the past few years, Turkish imports have steeply undersold domestic producers and held down prices. In fact, imported dried tart cherries from Turkey have more than tripled, soaring from 413,893 pounds in 2016 to 1,511,977 pounds in 2018. This rapid increase has allowed dried tart cherries from Turkey to significantly increase their share of the U.S. market at the expense of domestic producers.
“The situation is textbook dumping,” said Michigan-grower Don Gregory of Shoreline Fruit. “You’ve got the cost of the cherries, plus the cost of shipping and drying, and they are being declared in this country for less than a dollar per pound. This is way below the cost of production even in Turkey! The American farmer simply can’t compete.”
On April 23, 2019, the Dried Tart Cherry Trade Committee filed anti-dumping and countervailing duty petitions. The committee has five members that produce dried tart cherries in the United States: Cherry Central Cooperative (Traverse City, MI); Graceland Fruit, Inc. (Frankfort, MI); Payson Fruit Growers Coop (Payson, UT); Shoreline Fruit, LLC (Traverse City, MI); and Smeltzer Orchard Co. (Frankfort, MI).
“As an industry we had to come together to take a stand against imported products,” said Chad Rowley of Payson Fruit Growers Cooperative in Utah. “U.S. growers created the dried cherry market here in the U.S. and this ruling will allow U.S. cherry growers to compete with foreign countries like Turkey that provide subsidies to their farmers.”
The Department of Commerce is scheduled to provide a final ruling in December 2019. If that ruling is affirmative, the U.S. International Trade Commission is scheduled to make its final injury determinations in January 2020.
“We have to keep pushing to help the hard-working men and women in the tart cherry industry,” said third-generation grower Michael Deruiter of DeRuiter Farms. “This ruling gives us hope that U.S. growers can reclaim market share lost to cheap imports and help preserve of our generations-old farms that have been the backbone of this industry.”
The Cherry Marketing Institute, a not-for-profit organization funded by U.S. tart cherry growers and processors. CMI’s mission is to increase the demand for Montmorency tart cherries through promotion, market expansion, product development and research. For more information, visit ChooseCherries.com.
Dried Tart Cherry Trade Committee appears before the U.S. International Trade Commission. Photo: Cherry Marketing Institute