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Michigan cherry farmers celebrate new Turkish tariffs

Peter Payette

The U.S. International Trade Commission will levy tariffs against Turkish tart cherry exporters, according to a press release obtained by IPR.

For years Michigan farmers have complained about cheap Turkish tart cherry products, which in some cases sell for half the price of domestic ones.

The government will now charge Turkish cherry producers and exporters a 204.93 percent tariff to offset government subsidies that let them sell products for cheap. To slow the flow of cheap Turkish cherries into the U.S., the government will also charge a 541.29 percent tariff to most Turkish exporters, while two others will be charged 648.35 percent.

Cherry growers in Michigan have been calling for tariffs on Turkey for years. According to the Cherry Marketing Institute, the U.S. was importing about 24 million pounds of Turkish cherry products annually in 2008. As of 2016 that number is more than 200 million pounds.

Nels Veliquette of Shoreline Fruit LLC says this decision was a long time coming.

"The tart cherry industry here in the United States is no longer just going to stand by and allow them to take away market share from us," Veliquette says.

Payments from Turkish producers will likely start next week, according to attorneys representing U.S. growers.

Max came to IPR in 2017 as an environmental intern. In 2018, he returned to the station as a reporter and quickly took on leadership roles as Interim News Director and eventually Assignment Editor. Before joining IPR, Max worked as a news director and reporter at Michigan State University's student radio station WDBM. In 2018, he reported on a Title IX dispute with MSU in his story "Prompt, Thorough and Impartial." His work has also been heard on Michigan Radio, WDBM and WKAR in East Lansing and NPR.