Michigan cherry farmers react to new tariff on cherry juice from Turkey

Nov 6, 2018

Michigan Cherry farmers are responding to news that President Trump has enacted a new tariff on cherry juice from Turkey.

Cherry farmers have been raising concerns about imports from Turkey which they say are undercutting US cherries.

Last week President Trump eliminated duty-free status on cherry juice from Turkey - a status reserved for developing countries.

Marc Santucci is a Traverse City Cherry-Farmer.  He said the Cherry Marketing Institute has been working with US Trade Representative's Office to encourage the tariff.

“What they call the zero tariff is only good until your exports reach a certain amount. Once they reach that certain amount they are then subject to the tariff but someone has to say something about. Which we did.”

Santucci said the president's proclamation will put a half-cent tariff on every liter of cherry juice from Turkey. He said US cherry growers pay a penny and a half per pound of cherries to promote their sale.

“So a half a cent tariff is still lower than what we pay to promote not only our cherries but the consumer doesn’t distinguish from ours and something from Turkey.”

Santucci said the tariff won’t do much to protect the US cherry market - but he’s still grateful for even that half-cent tariff.

And, he said, not enough cherries are being produced in the US to meet demand if imports from Turkey were completely blocked. That he said leaves the industry in a bind.