International Trade Commission to Track Organic Tart Cherry Juice Imports at Urging of Senators Stabenow and Peters

Friday, June 02, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) today announced that the U.S. International Trade Commission will begin tracking foreign imports of certified organic and conventionally produced tart cherry juice and tart cherry juice concentrate, and all other varieties of cherry juice, in order to more accurately measure the impact of trade on Michigan’s tart cherry industry. 


In March, Senators Stabenow and Peters urged the Commission to track this information in the wake of unfair and rising import competition of tart cherry juice harming Michigan producers. Michigan grows more than 75% of the nation’s tart cherries with an annual crop valued at $280 million, supporting hundreds of processing and retail jobs and a vibrant tourism industry in Northwest Michigan. 


Stabenow said: “Michigan’s world-famous tart cherries are a central piece of our ag economy. But this industry cannot continue to flourish in the face of unfair and unaccountable competition from foreign producers. Today’s announcement is a welcome step toward ensuring an even playing field for our Michigan growers.” 


Peters said: “For years, Michigan cherry growers have been harmed by unfair trade practices that threaten their livelihoods and hurt workers. They deserve a level playing field. After pushing for this needed change, I’m pleased the ITC will now collect all available information on these imports so that our growers have a fair shot at competing on the world stage.”


President and Managing Director of the Cherry Marketing Institute Julie Gordon said: “The new categories for tracking imported cherry juice/concentrate are very important for the U.S. tart cherry industry. The new reporting will provide us specific information that was not previously available and will help us develop strategies for dealing with the influx of imports. We are grateful that the 484(f) Committee granted our request for the new codes and for the continued support from Senator Stabenow and Senator Peters.”


In 2020, Senators Stabenow and Peters similarly urged the U.S. International Trade Commission to collect statistical information on dried cherry imports after Turkish exporters continued to dump low-quality dried cherries into U.S. markets, creating a trade imbalance that hurt Michigan growers. The Senators’ request was approved and went into effect in July 2020.


As the Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, Senator Stabenow has long been an advocate for specialty crops like Michigan’s tart cherries and has repeatedly pressed to improve trade policies. This includes authoring a new provision in the bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill that ensures imports have to meet the same standards as domestic products.


A link to the March letter can be found here