The Cherry Marketing Institute (CMI) has filed a complaint with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to investigate suspicious shipments of tart cherry juice concentrate from Brazil.

According to a CMI press release, the U.S. tart cherry industry — which has been plagued by cheap Turkish imports for the last few years — successfully argued in 2018 that duty-free access to the U.S. market should be revoked for tart cherry juice concentrate from Turkey. Brazilian imports of tart cherry juice concentrate immediately spiked — even though, according to statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Brazil produces no tart cherries.

CMI’s complaint highlights the U.S. tart cherry industry’s ongoing battle against what it describes as unfair trade practices. On Jan. 14, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) determined that the U.S. tart cherry industry is not materially injured or threatened with material injury by imports of dried tart cherries from Turkey. The decision came despite the fact that the U.S. Department of Commerce had determined that Turkish tart cherries are subsidized and sold in the United States at less than fair value.

U.S. producers filed antidumping and countervailing petitions in April 2019 to protest subsidized Turkish imports of dried tart cherries. They claimed imports have steeply undersold U.S. producers and held down prices in the last few years, giving Turkish producers an unfair advantage. Between 2016 and 2018, imports of dried tart cherries from Turkey more than tripled, from 413,893 pounds to 1.5 million pounds, according to CMI.

In September 2019, the U.S. Department of Commerce made a preliminary ruling ordering Turkish exporters of dried tart cherries to escrow funds to cover anticipated countervailing and antidumping duties. As a result of ITC’s January decision, however, no duties will be issued.

—by Matt Milkovich

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