Michigan cherry farmers celebrate new Turkish tariffs

Sep 23, 2019

A tart cherry orchard in northern Michigan.
Credit 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.