TRAVERSE CITY — The U.S. Department of Commerce this week announced a preliminary determination that dried cherry imports from Turkey have unfairly harmed U.S. growers.

The department’s preliminary determination in an anti-dumping duty and countervailing duty investigation states that exporters did sell dried tart cherries at less than fair value, at rates ranging from 541.29 to 648.35 percent, and received unfair subsidies at a rate of 204.93 percent, according to a release.

The department will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect cash deposits from importers of dried tart cherries from Turkey based on these preliminary rates, the release stated.

A group of five U.S. processors collectively identified as the Dried Tart Cherry Trade Committee — Shoreline Fruit LLC of Traverse City, Graceland Fruit Inc. of Frankfort, Cherry Central Cooperative of Traverse City, Smeltzer Orchard Co. of Frankfort, and Payson Fruit Growers Co-op of Payson, Utah — filed a petition months ago requesting the anti-dumping and countervailing duties.

The petition alleges that dried tart cherries from Turkey are being imported into the U.S. at price margins that constitute dumping. It alleges that a variety of Turkey government programs support that nation’s tart cherry industry, making it possible for importers to bring dried tart cherries into the U.S. at prices far below the cost of production.

Anti-dumping and countervailing duty laws provide U.S. businesses with a mechanism to seek relief from harmful effects of unfair pricing of imports into the United States.

Unfairly priced imports are hurting the U.S. cherry industry, the petition alleges. Much of that damage is being sustained by growers and processors in northwest Lower Michigan. Domestic processors see the petition’s goal of import duties as a step forward for U.S. farmers and processors.

The Commerce Department is scheduled to announce its final determinations on both types of duties on or about Dec. 5.

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