A Pit in the Stomach
It seems that the U.S-China trade war is slowing. According to National Public Radio, the president agreed to relax some of the tariffs he imposed on Chinese imports. In exchange, Beijing has agreed to buy more American products and make other changes.
As part of that deal, China has promised to provide more protection for American companies’ intellectual property and to stop requiring U.S. companies to share their technology as a cost of doing business in China.
While the U.S. administration seems to be doing its part, 25% tariffs remain in place on much of what the U.S. buys from China, including components that American factories use to assemble finished products.
Farmers took a hit as well, the NPR report shared, as China cut back on its purchases of U.S. agricultural products.
This resonates, as I see it on a local level. My hometown of Traverse City, Michigan, is the “Cherry Capital of the World.” Cherry orchards abound on both of the region’s peninsulas and the breathtaking white and pink flowers are a photographer’s dream in spring. This is why hundreds of thousands of visitors come each season. We even have a Cherry Festival each summer with — you guessed it — everything cherry.
Many of these orchards have been farmed by the same families for decades. Bardenhagen Farms, a historic centennial farm, sells other sustainably grown fare such as apples, grapes and some vegetables. Many other cherry farmers only grow cherries — making them even more vulnerable to crop issues and regulations.
Just recently, cherry farmers lost their fight to place tariffs on dried cherries out of Turkey. This loss is applicable to cherry growers throughout the U.S.
On January 14th, the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that the domestic cherry industry “is not materially injured or threatened with material injury by reason of imports of dried tart cherries from Turkey.” That’s despite the U.S. Department of Commerce’s determination on Dec. 6, 2019, that dried cherries were being subsidized by the Turkish government and sold in the U.S. at less than fair value.
This fight isn’t over by a longshot, as the Bardenhagens and other cherry producers plan to file a complaint with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, according to recent interviews. However, they aren’t yet sure what they are working against. The ITC has stated that the report findings won’t be available until February 18th. Ah, red tape.
With Michigan state representatives on the side of the cherry farmer, how far are they willing to go to fight the good fight? After all, it is a political year.
Have you dealt with a similar situation with your product? If so, I’d love to hear from you.