VanderWall applauds ITC decision to protect Michigan cherry growers

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Curt VanderWall on Wednesday praised the recent decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to levy tariffs on Turkish cherry exports.

“The tart cherry industry in Michigan and across the U.S. has been devastated by cheap Turkish cherries flooding the American market the last several years,” said VanderWall, R-Ludington. “This ITC decision will bring welcome relief to thousands of Michigan farmers and their employees and lower prices to consumers.”

VanderWall introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 10 last month, urging the U.S. International Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Commerce to act against the unfair trade practices of Turkey.

The government will now charge Turkish cherry producers and exporters tariffs of up to 648.35%.

The amount of dried cherries imported from Turkey has grown exponentially over the last three years, more than tripling from 2016 to 2018. Subsidized by the Turkish government, Turkish cherries sell for 89 cents per pound while the U.S. product sells for an average of $4.60 per pound.

In April, the Dried Tart Cherry Trade Committee filed petitions with the U.S. International Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Commerce, stating that Turkey is flooding the U.S. market with dried tart cherries, lowering domestic product prices, and causing material injury to tart cherry producers in Michigan and other cherry-growing states.

The ITC announced in June that Turkish imports “had a significant adverse impact on the domestic industry.” This week, the ITC issued a preliminary decision to impose tariffs, and a final determination is expected in December.

“While I expect the ITC’s final determination to retain the tariffs, we should be aware that if the industry loses its case, few Michigan cherry growers will survive,” VanderWall said. “Jobs will be lost both in seasonal workers in the field and the thousands of employees in processing plants who work year-round preparing cherries for market.”