On Tuesday, Jan. 21, the Cherry Marketing Institute (CMI) filed a complaint with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to investigate suspicious shipments of tart cherry juice concentrate from Brazil.

The Cherry Industry Administrative Board (CIAB) commissioned a research study on trade flows into the U.S. market. With the studies’ release, CMI moved ahead with a complaint about questionable trade practices by importers from Turkey and Brazil. According to a CMI press release, U.S. tart cherry growers and processors have been plagued by imports of products from Turkey. In 2018, the U.S. tart cherry industry successfully argued that duty free access to the U.S. market should be revoked for tart cherry juice concentrate from Turkey. Imports of tart cherry juice concentrate from Brazil immediately spiked even though, according to global Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) statistics, Brazil produces no tart cherries. Year over year, imports of tart cherry juice concentrate from Brazil saw a 12-fold increase, the press release said.

This filing highlights the ongoing battle the U.S. tart cherry industry faces in fighting unfair trade practices in an ever-globalizing marketplace, the press release said. On Ja. 14, the US International Trade Commission voted negatively in dumping and countervailing duty case raised by U.S. dried tart cherry processors against Turkey. Industry organizations vow to keep fighting unfair trade practices, but will also look to USDA- Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) for more help. According to the press release, CMI continues to argue to FAS that tart cherries should not have been excluded from the list of commodities impacted by the U.S.-China trade war. With a newly signed trade agreement, CMI will redouble its efforts to increase exports to China and is hopeful that some of the Chinese purchases of goods include tart cherries. The CIAB will move ahead with a purchase request to USDA-AMS in a bid to help alleviate some of the downward pressure on grower prices that is a result of growing industry inventories.