grapes with glass of grape juice

Press Release provided by Delano Growers Grape Products

Delano, California – Delano Growers Grape Products cooperative announced that the U.S. Department of Commerce has signed an agreement with the Government of Argentina suspending the Department’s antidumping investigation and an agreement with Argentine exporters suspending the countervailing duty investigation on white grape juice concentrate from Argentina. In lieu of potential antidumping and countervailing duties, the agreements would apply an annual export limit and minimum selling prices for imports from Argentina.

Commerce initiated these investigations after a petition was filed by Delano Growers on March 21, 2022. Rick Lord, General Manager, said, “We are very pleased with this outcome, and believe that the suspension agreements achieve several important objectives for the good of the industry, our co-op members, other grape growers and, importantly, our customers and all users of white grape juice concentrate.”

White grape juice concentrate is a valuable natural sweetener used by beverage and food manufacturers and made from the crushing and processing of grapes into a high brix (sugar) content concentrate. In 1993, two researchers from U.C. Davis published an article  in the California Agriculture Journal which stated, “Grape concentrate is a growing market, thanks to an innovative industry and consumer preference for fruit sweeteners over table sugar,” further noting that “The International Trade Centre (ITC) has concluded that the fruit juice business will remain a growth industry for a long time.” In the late 1990s, U.S. production was approximately 30 million gallons, however, in the years preceding the Delano Grower’s petition, production had dropped to less than 8 million gallons. Delano Growers is the largest remaining commercial producer in the U.S.

Kent Stenderup, a grape grower in Arvin, California, Chairman of Delano Growers’ Board of Directors said, “White grape juice concentrate is a vitally important product for grape growers. Processing grapes into juice concentrate provides an important economic stabilizer for the California grape industry. In addition to providing a market for dedicated juice grapes, it also absorbs a supply of other grapes which provides a positive return to growers. We are delighted with these suspension agreements.”

By setting reasonable and market driven volume and selling prices for imports from Argentina in lieu of potential duties, these agreements also allow any preliminary cash deposits collected as a result of the preliminary findings of the investigation to be refunded to current U.S. importers. 

According to Lord, “These agreements ensure that the U.S. market for white grape juice concentrate will remain adequately supplied since they reflect recent historical levels and are also structured to be flexible for unforeseen adverse market conditions. It is a win-win situation.”

Lord continued, “This is a big milestone for a small co-op. The U.S. Department of Commerce has a total of only eight suspension agreements in place, with two of them now being for white grape juice concentrate.”

The petition was filed on behalf of Delano Growers by JPH Law, LLC, of Washington, D.C., a firm specializing in the representation of cooperatives, growers and agricultural associations in policy, regulatory, labor and international trade matters. “We are indebted to our counsel,” said Stenderup. He continued, “We greatly appreciate the efforts of the Department of Commerce’s Compliance and Enforcement division for facilitating these agreements and their dedication to enforcing U.S. trade law. “Finally, we’d like to acknowledge the good faith negotiations during the agreement process by the Argentine industry and the Government of Argentina.”

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