Tester, Daines, Heitkamp, and Hoeven Fight for Local Honey Producers

Senators Lead Bipartisan Effort to Protect Jobs and End Unfair Chinese Trade Practice that Targets Rural Economies

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senators Jon Tester, Steve Daines, Heidi Heitkamp, and John Hoeven are fighting to end an unfair Chinese trade practice that targets local honey producers and stings local economies.

For nearly two decades, Chinese honey producers have deliberately exported honey to the U.S. at a price below the cost of production to purposefully increase their market share and drive Montana and North Dakota honey producers out-of-business–a practice called “dumping.”

In a letter to Acting U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, the Senators from Montana and North Dakota are pushing CBP to immediately collect anti-dumping duties and interest on Chinese honey imports and distribute them to American honey producers.

“Honey production is a vital industry to our rural economies and to the strength of our rural communities,” the Senators wrote. “It is essential the Customs and Border Patrol work expeditiously and meticulously to ensure our honey producers are fully protected and compensated from unfair foreign trade by pursuing the collection of all outstanding import duties and the interest accrued on those duties.”

The United States placed anti-dumping duties on Chinese producers in 2001 to protect domestic producers and condemn China’s unfair actions. The CBP has failed to collect many of these duties because China has exploited a loophole.

The CBP can charge anti-dumping duties on exporters in order to compensate local producers who lose market share due to unfair trade practices. To date, hundreds of millions of dollars in duties and interest on duties against Chinese honey producers remain uncollected.

The Senators underscored to the Acting Director that the CBP’s slow enforcement and collection of duties against Chinese producers is denying Montana and North Dakota the recourse to financially overcome the harmful impacts of Chinese imports.

Montana and North Dakota are the top honey producing states in the country, which combined produced nearly $87 million worth of honey last year.

The Senators’ letter to Acting Director McAleenan is available HERE.