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SA lemon juice producers may be slapped with anti-dumping duties, if a petition in the US succeeds

Business Insider SA
Lemons and citrus squeezer on a table
Lemons and citrus squeezer on a table
  • A US juice maker, Ventura Coastal, has filed a petition to impose anti-dumping tariffs on lemon juice from South Africa and Brazil.
  • Should the petition succeed, South Africa will lose the US as its key destination for its lemon juice.
  • Finding alternate markets could be difficult, seeing the world is already experiencing a lemon juice glut, an executive from a juice processing company in South Africa has said.
  • For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Makers of lemon juice in South Africa may be slapped with anti-dumping duties by the US, if a petition against them succeeds next month.

On 30 December, a US citrus juice maker, Ventura Coastal, filed a petition with the United States International Trade Commission, requesting that the US government impose anti-dumping duties on lemon juice from South Africa and Brazil. It alleges that lemon juice from South Africa and Brazil is sold at less than fair value in the US.

Should the petition succeed and anti-dumping tariffs be imposed, South Africa’s juice processors will be left with a lemon juice glut, Andre Swart, managing director of Venco Fruit, told the Business Insider South Africa on Monday.

Venco Fruit is one of the juice makers named in the investigation.

Lemon-juice makers would not only generate less revenue, but they will have to target alternate export destinations in a world that is already experiencing an oversupply of lemon juice, Swart said.

“It means that we will have much less imports in the USA and we have to find other markets for that depending on the duty that they raise eventually,” Swart said.

But, he said the world currently has an excess of lemon juice.

“There’s quite a supply, and the US has seen a decrease in the price of lemon juice just because there’s so much supply in the world. So we’ll have to find other customers, and we’ll get less for it, eventually,” said Swart.

Swart said news of the petition that came just as they returned to work from the holiday break came as a “nasty surprise”.

“It’s something that we would like to defend if we can. They’ve sent us questionnaires; we have completed that. We will submit that to them; we must do so by the 13th of January, and then the next move will be to see if they are happy with what we’ve given them or [if] they want to further the investigations,” Swart said.

The US trade commission expects to deliver its determinations on the lemon juice anti-dumping probe on 14 February.

The investigation is tasked with determining whether there is a reasonable indication that imports of lemon juice from Brazil and South Africa have any material threats to a US industry.

The probe threatens South Africa’s citrus industry that has enjoyed remarkable growth over the years, including entering new markets. According to the Citrus Growers’ Association, citrus growers exported 161.6 million cartons of fruit in 2021, increasing by 18.6 million cartons from the prior year. Specifically, export volumes of lemons increased by 5%, with 29.7 million cartons shipped.

Of the 2.8 million tons of citrus produced in the country, 20% or more than 554,000 is processed.

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