VanderWall resolution supports action against Turkish cherries

LANSING, Mich. — In response to recent overwhelming losses to the tart cherry industry in Michigan, Sen. Curt VanderWall has introduced a resolution supporting the U.S. cherry industry’s petition calling for action at the federal level.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 10 urges the U.S. International Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Commerce to act against unfair trade practices of Turkey.

“Cheap Turkish cherries have flooded the American market the last few years, causing the price of Michigan cherries to tumble,” said VanderWall, R-Ludington. “If we don’t put a stop to this, it will devastate the industry.”

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 issued a preliminary ruling in June that Turkish imports “had a significant adverse impact on the domestic industry,” but a final ruling isn’t expected until early next year.

“If the industry loses its case, few Michigan cherry growers will survive,” VanderWall said. “Already trees are being destroyed as it costs more to harvest fruit than the current return on the product.

“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.”

SCR 10 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture.