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MI cherry farmers seek tariff on imported cherries, say Turkish cherries are hurting MI economy

Posted at 9:40 AM, Dec 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-09 09:40:24-05

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan farmers and lawmakers want the government to require higher tariffs for imported dried tart cherries.

The cherries are being imported from Turkey, which northern Michigan cherry companies say is seriously cutting into their business.

According to those cherry companies, Turkey is undermining the market by selling the Michigan staple for a below-fair price.

The request would increase the price from $1 worth of cherries to $6.48. That is nearly a 650 percent increase.

Donald Gregory, chairman of the board of Cherry Bay Orchard in Traverse City, said to ABC 12 that the fruit is a crucial part of the northern Michigan economy and needs to be protected.

"Any of you that have been to that part of Michigan will know how important tart cherries are to that part of the region," Gregory said. “The domestic industry has invested heavily in markets for tart cherries. ... Unfortunately, imports from Turkey are now reaping the benefits of all those efforts."

Lawmakers like U.S. Sen. Gary Peters from Michigan also support the request for higher tariffs.

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