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The announcement by President Donald Trump that he is delaying his plan to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods March 1 was bad news for Gilroy garlic giant Christopher Ranch.

The 10 percent tariff imposed on some foreign agricultural imports, including garlic, had brought the company out of a nine-month sales slump caused by China’s “dumping” of cheap garlic on U.S. and world markets, said Ken Christopher, executive vice president of the family business.

If tariff talks had not been successful by March 1, those tariffs were to increase to 25 percent. The president pushed that deadline back indefinitely in two Feb. 24 tweets.

“As this is the second time that the administration has delayed the implementation of 25 percent tariffs, we’re disappointed that the president is not willing to enact legal action that has been scheduled for some time now,” Christopher told this newspaper.

A 25 percent tariff “would be incredible for our business,” according to Christopher. “In not enacting the 25 percent tariffs, the administration is letting down American garlic farmers.”

He said China illegally dumped garlic into the U.S. until September, when the tariffs went into effect. Christopher sales were down 20 percent the first nine months, when the tariffs went into effect. Sales the rest of the year exceeded 2017, he said.

“We continue to have faith” that the U.S. will reach an agreement “that best secures the future of U.S. garlic farmers,” said Christopher. He said Chinese garlic exporters are circumventing U.S. laws.

Since 2001, the Government Accounting Office has reported that over $570 million in financial damages has been caused by illegal dumping of Chinese garlic. “It’s imperative that the government steps up to stop illegal Chinese shippers,” said Christopher. “The administration is letting down American garlic farmers.”

Trump had imposed a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods and a 25 percent tariff on another $50 billion. He had planned to raise all the duties to 25 percent if no deal was reached by March 1.

Christopher testified in Washington, D.C. last August about the Chinese garlic dumping problem, and asked that the government impose a 25 percent tariff on all inbound Chinese garlic.

He was interviewed by National Public Radio last week, which highlighted the pre-eminent position of his company in U.S. garlic production and touted Gilroy—”an agricultural community south of San Francisco”—as the Garlic Capital of the World.

What’s good for Christopher Ranch is good for the Gilroy economy, since the company is the city’s largest private employer, with approximately 1,000 employees, and is a major community benefactor.

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