Breaking away from the position of many U.S. farmers, Christopher Ranch, the nation’s premier garlic company, announced on Tuesday, Sept. 18, that it fully supports the imposition of a 10 percent tariff on imported Chinese garlic (under the United States Trade Representative Section 301 Investigation).
In its announcement, the company went a step further, declaring its support for even higher tariffs.
“Christopher Ranch applauds the decision of the U.S. trade representative to raise the tariff to 25 percent on Jan. 1, 2019,” said Ken Christopher, executive vice president of Christopher Ranch, based in Gilroy.
“For decades, Chinese exporters have flooded the US market with cheap and often illegally dumped garlic, and this tariff will help to level the playing field for American garlic farmers,” said Christopher.
Recently, third-generation farmer Christopher flew to Washington DC to build bipartisan congressional support for the US garlic industry and to offer testimony to the US International Trade Commission in support of the enacted tariff. Officials from the Departments of State, Commerce, Homeland Security, Labor, Small Business Administration, and the office of the US Trade Representative were present to receive the testimony.
According to the US Department of Commerce, Chinese garlic exporters have defrauded the US government out of more than $600 million of billed but uncollected duties. This represents the largest single industry of the total $2.6 billion of total uncollected duties since 2001. https://www.gao.gov/assets/680/678419.pdf Unlike past duties, the proposed new tariff would require that fees be paid in advance, preventing exporters from engaging in illegal duty evasion schemes.
“In broad macroeconomic terms, we recognize that an escalating trade war may not be in the nation’s larger economic interest, but immediate relief for the US garlic industry is needed,” said Christopher in the company statement. “Illegally dumped Chinese garlic continues to flood the US market, making its way to unassuming American consumers, and US farmers need our government’s support.
“The anticipated tariffs of Chinese garlic will go a long way to restoring a longstanding injustice on American garlic farmers.”