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Chinese Socked with 376% Garlic Tax!

David Stern

In the last Press/Allio-file, I wrote that garlic from China was being dumped on the U.S./World Market for about 6/pound. Some of you thought it a misprint, others didn't believe it. But that's as low as it went, and about 25% of their cost of production at 25/pound. China's trade strategy was to flood the world markets: 3,000,000 pounds were imported in the U.S. in 1991; 7,000,000 in 1992; and 54,000,000 in 1993. Europe limited imports to 20,000,000 pounds, and Mexico put phytosanitary restrictions on, which ended imports.

Here in the U.S., the International Trading Commission put a 376.6% tariff on the imports just as three cargo ships (with 18,000,000 pounds) were arriving to unload! The exporters had to post a non-refundable bond (or cash deposit) at U.S. customs as a percentage of invoice total. For example, a 1,000-pound box is valued at 50/pound (50 376.6% = $1.88/pound) or $1,880 per box. The Commerce Department will make a final ruling on this matter very soon.

The West Coast big boys disbanded their Fresh Garlic Association over disagreements in politics/strategy and economics. But facing the communist threat (and economic defeat) they've rallied, and from the ashes has come The Fresh Garlic Producers Association. What's it mean to us little guys - getting hit with #25 hammer versus a #30 one? Not much really. We can't produce it and sell it with profit for 75! I share this industry news with you only to support high quality, efficient, regionally-marketed products. We can't compete, don't try! We can't put ours on the same shelf. Use your head and sell your crop only where they appreciate it and your labor, where they are willing to support local agriculture, and where you can make a profit to keep yourself in business. Please check out "Irradiated Garlic" story in this Press.

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