The U.S. Department of Commerce has issued a preliminary ruling against Turkish dried tart cherry imports. If made final, the ruling will level the playing field for domestic tart cherry producers, according to the Cherry Marketing Institute (CMI).
The ruling ordered Turkish exporters of dried tart cherries to escrow funds to cover new duties of 204.93 percent under a countervailing duty investigation, and 541.29 percent under an anti-dumping investigation.
The Commerce Department is scheduled to provide a final ruling on the matter in December. If that ruling is affirmative, the U.S. International Trade Commission is scheduled to make a final injury determination in January 2020, according to CMI.
The Dried Tart Cherry Trade Committee, made up of five U.S. producers of dried tart cherries, filed the anti-dumping and countervailing duty petitions on April 23. The petitions were filed to protest subsidized Turkish imports, which U.S. producers say give Turkish producers an unfair advantage. U.S. producers claim Turkish imports have steeply undersold them and held down prices in the last few years.
Between 2016 and 2018, imports of dried tart cherries from Turkey more than tripled, from 413,893 pounds to 1.5 million pounds. The rapid increase allowed Turkish product to significantly increase its share of the U.S. market at the expense of domestic producers, according to CMI.
“The situation is textbook dumping,” Michigan grower Don Gregory said in a statement. “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.”
—by Matt Milkovich