Tester, Cassidy, Grassley, Thune Hold China Accountable, Level Playing Field for American Farmers

Senators introduce legislation to pay back American producers $38 million for wrongfully withheld anti-dumping duties

As a part of their continued effort to level the playing field for American producers, U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and John Thune (R-S.D.) today introduced their bipartisan China Trade Cheating Restitution Act to ensure that agricultural sectors most affected by China’s evasion on anti-dumping duties receive an estimated $38.5 million in accrued delinquency interest on duties wrongfully withheld by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) from 2000-2014.

For nearly two decades, Chinese producers have deliberately exported honey, fresh garlic, crawfish, and mushrooms to the U.S. at a price below the cost of production to purposefully increase their market share and drive Montana, Louisiana, Iowa, and South Dakota producers out of business – a practice called “dumping.” The United States placed anti-dumping duties on Chinese producers in 2001 to protect domestic producers and condemn China’s unfair actions.

“Montana’s farmers grow the best products in the world and shouldn’t be penalized for following the rules,” said Tester. “China’s continued violation of U.S. import laws has hurt producers at home, making it harder to compete in emerging markets, and America’s farmers need to be made whole. This bipartisan bill will give domestic producers the resources they need to compete and will help ensure we maintain our competitive edge over China for years to come.”

“Crawfish is part of our culture in Louisiana, and we will defend it,” said Dr. Cassidy. “China is attempting to put our crawfish farmers out of business dumping their product in the U.S. at prices below the cost of production. This is against the law. This legislation gives American farmers the resources they need to stay competitive and thrive.”

“Iowa farmers have felt the effects of China playing games with our trade laws and profiting from unfair trade practices. Our proposal will help offset these effects and ensure producers are granted the relief they need,” Grassley said.

“South Dakota is one of the top honey-producing states in the country,” said Thune. “The unfair practice of circumventing U.S. trade laws, which jeopardizes honey producers’ financial security, should be met with strict enforcement and increased protections. South Dakota honey producers deserve a level-playing field. This bipartisan legislation helps ensure fair treatment for affected domestic producers and strengthens their ability to compete globally.”

In 2000 Congress passed the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act (CDSOA), which instructed CBP to pay all collected anti-dumping duties and accrued interest to the U.S. producers that were injured by dumped imports. CDSOA applies to imports that entered the U.S. through September 30, 2007, but due to a range of delays, CBP is still assessing and collecting anti-dumping duties and interest on many of these imports. Since 2000, it is estimated that China has evaded nearly $1.2 billion in anti-dumping duties on imported garlic, crawfish, canned mushrooms, and honey.

The Senators’ bipartisan bill will ensure that CBP distribute remaining anti-dumping duties to honey, garlic, and crawfish producers that were not paid between 2000 and 2014. In order to ensure that US producers of fresh garlic, crawfish, mushrooms, and honey are paid the duties they are owed by CBP under the CDSOA of 2000, the legislation would:

  • Require CBP to distribute under CDSOA an estimated $38.5 million in accrued delinquency interest on the anti-dumping duties that CBP collected and wrongfully withheld.
  • Amend the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 to move the date of interest collected by the CBP to be dispersed from October 1, 2014 to October 1, 2000 to account for substantial interest withheld by CBP beginning in 2000.