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Peters, Stabenow Blast Final Decision on Cherry Tariffs
USAgNet - 01/15/2020

U.S. Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, both of Michigan, Tuesday strongly criticized the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC)'s final decision not to institute tariffs against Turkish tart cherry exporters, which have been dumping low-quality dried cherries into U.S. markets -- creating a trade imbalance that has undermined Michigan cherry growers. The final determination runs contrary to the ITC's initial decision to institute tariffs and the U.S. Department of Commerce's determination that Turkish exporters used unfair trade practices. Last year, the Dried Tart Cherry Trade Committee filed anti-dumping and countervailing duty petitions with the ITC and U.S. Department of Commerce.

"This decision is unacceptable and ignores the facts: Turkish exporters have decimated Michigan's cherry industry. I am outraged that the ITC has chosen to ignore its own previous determinations and side with Turkish exporters over Michigan cherry growers," said Peters. "Michigan cherry growers spent millions of dollars in an already difficult year to elevate this issue. By making this stunning reversal, the ITC is undermining its own mission, disregarding the overwhelming evidence and is letting trade abusers off the hook. Michigan's cherry growers can outcompete anyone on a level playing field, and I'm going to keep fighting for our cherry industry."

"Michigan cherry growers have enough challenges without having to deal with foreign competitors who cheat and violate our trade laws," said Stabenow. "I am outraged that the International Trade Commission has failed to hold Turkey accountable after investigations clearly showed egregious violations of the rules. Senator Peters and I will continue to fight hard to level the playing field for our cherry growers."

Last month, Peters testified along with Michigan cherry growers at an ITC hearing in Washington, DC on ensuring a level playing field and holding Turkish tart cherry exporters accountable. In February, Peters reintroduced the Self-Initiation Trade Enforcement Act with U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) to establish a task force within the U.S. Department of Commerce to investigate potential trade abuses throughout the international marketplace. The bipartisan measure would also better ensure that the Department has the resources needed to support American businesses looking to expand both here at home and throughout the international marketplace. Peters previously discussed the issue of cherry dumping directly with President Trump, who called Peters' legislation "a fantastic idea." In April, Peters toured Shoreline Fruit's facilities in Williamsburg and highlighted his legislation.

As Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, Stabenow has repeatedly pressed federal trade officials to enforce the rules to hold Turkey accountable. 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.

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