Stabenow battling unfair trade for Michigan cherry growers

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, announced a major step forward to protect Michigan’s cherry industry, which has struggled from unfair trade practices by other countries.

Starting on November 1, U.S. trade officials will no longer allow duty-free access for cherry juice imports from Turkey, providing certainty for Michigan cherry growers.

“In Michigan, we grow more tart cherries than any state in the country,” said Senator Stabenow. “This change is a major victory that will help level the playing field for our cherry industry. I applaud U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer for working with me on this issue and I urge trade officials to continue to protect our cherry growers from unfair trade.”

“This is a significant step forward for the Tart Cherry Industry,” said Phil Korson, President of the Cherry Marketing Institute. “The flood of cheap imports has severely affected Michigan cherry growers’ bottom line. This important change will help ensure our world famous tart cherries are getting a fair shake. We appreciate Senator Stabenow’s continued leadership for our industry.”

Recently, Turkey has dumped cherry products into domestic markets, 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 remove Turkey’s unfettered access to U.S. markets.

Senator Stabenow has repeatedly pressed federal trade officials to enforce the rules to hold Turkey accountable and stop them from dumping cherries.

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.

Senator Stabenow has long been a champion for Michigan cherry growers and has led the effort to provide relief from trade imbalances.

In addition to her work to improve trade policies, she successfully urged the USDA 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 Senate Farm Bill to ensure that imports have to meet the same standards as domestic products.

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