- Terça-Feira 26 de janeiro de 2021
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Growers Press Brazil Over Juice 'Dumping'

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Florida's largest group of citrus growers accused a Brazilian orange-juice processor of illegally dumping juice on the U.S. market.

The complaint, filed Thursday with the U.S. Commerce Department by Florida Citrus Mutual, which represents about 8,000 growers, alleges that beginning in 2008, Brazil's Citrovita sold orange juice on the U.S. market "at prices well below its calculated cost of production."

Citrovita is owned by Brazilian natural-resources giant Votorantim, which is the country's third-largest exporter.

[orange juice futures]

The Commerce Department has 45 days after the filing to decide whether to review the Citrovita case. After that, the department has 270 days to make a determination on Florida Citrus Mutual's claims.

A spokesman for Citrovita had no immediate comment.

Speculation regarding the case had been circulating in the industry for several weeks. Dow Jones Newswires reported the allegations on March 20, but officials weren't willing to name the firm that was allegedly dumping the juice.

"Florida Citrus Mutual continually monitors trade data to determine whether orange-juice exporters are playing by the rules, and we believe that Citrovita's exports need to be investigated," the group's chief executive, Michael Sparks, said in a statement.

Unfair Marketplace?

"The Florida citrus grower deserves to operate in a fair marketplace and that isn't the case when Brazilian juice processors dump product into the U.S. We won't stand for it," he said.

Florida Citrus Mutual is asking the Commerce Department to investigate Citrovita through a "change in circumstance" petition that would add the company to an antidumping order issued in March 2006.

That order was issued against four Brazilian processors -- Citrosuco, Cutrale, Coinbra-Frutesp and Montecitrus.

Those firms remain under Commerce Department scrutiny and must pay an annual deposit that can only be refunded if they prove to trade officials that they haven't been selling juice at below their cost of production.

Previous Case

Citrovita wasn't included in the original 2006 decision because it had been named in a previous antidumping case, industry representatives said.

The 2006 decision covered frozen concentrated and not-from-concentrate juice.

According to Florida Citrus Mutual, the order increased the on-tree value of Florida oranges by an estimated 4% to 6%, or $85 million to $125 million, during the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 growing seasons.

Brazilian orange-juice exports lead the world, with 203,800 metric tons shipped from the country in March, up from 95,300 tons in February and 157,600 tons a year earlier, according to Brazil's Foreign Trade Ministry.

Frozen concentrated orange-juice futures, which trade on ICE Futures U.S., initially rose in response to the news, but closed lower.

Orange juice for delivery in May lost 0.20 of a cent to settle at 79.40 cents a pound.

Bill Tomson contributed to this article.Printed in The Wall Street Journal

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