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Stabnow, Peters Applaud Decision on Trade Practices Harming Cherries
USAgNet - 06/10/2019

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, and Senator Gary Peters spplauded another positive step forward to protect Michigan's cherry industry from unfair trade practices by other countries. Last week, the U.S. International Trade Commission made a unanimous preliminary determination that the U.S. cherry industry had been harmed by unfair imports from Turkey. This is an important step towards placing anti-dumping and countervailing duties on dried tart cherry imports from Turkey, which will help level the playing field for Michigan-grown cherries.

"Michigan grows more tart cherries than any other state in the country," said Stabenow. "This is a big step forward to help protect our world famous cherry industry from unfair foreign competition."

"I've met with Michigan cherry growers that have been unfairly disadvantaged by Turkish cherry dumping into the market. This unanimous decision is an important step towards holding bad actors accountable and leveling the playing field," said Peters. "While I'm encouraged by this progress, our growers simply cannot afford to wait. I will continue pushing to pass my bipartisan legislation that will strengthen the Commerce Department's ability to self-initiate investigations into unfair trade practices -- especially those that impact smaller industries. Cherry growers that are already facing a tighter budget because of these unfair trade practices should not be forced to spend millions to bring a case forward."

Recently, Turkey has dumped cherry products into domestic markets and unfairly subsidized their own producers, creating a trade imbalance that has made it harder for Michigan growers to sell their cherries at a fair price. As a result, the cherry industry has asked trade officials to step in and address this imbalance. The preliminary determination of injury by the U.S. International Trade Commission is a step toward placing anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Turkey, which will ensure foreign cherry products do not have an unfair advantage.

Stabenow has long been a champion for Michigan cherry growers and has led the effort to provide relief from trade imbalances, repeatedly pressing federal trade officials to enforce the rules to hold Turkey accountable. Following the U.S. Trade Representative review urged by Senator Stabenow, a presidential proclamation officially re-imposed duties on Turkish cherry juice imports effective November 1, 2018.

In addition to her work to improve trade policies, she successfully urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make a bonus purchase to provide immediate support for cherry growers affected by unfair foreign competition. She also authored a new provision in the bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill to ensure that imports have to meet the same standards as domestic products.

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.

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.

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