The U.S. International Trade Commission has voted unanimously to continue an investigation of dumping allegations, by ruling preliminarily that U.S. lemon juice producers have been materially injured by Argentine and Mexican imports.

The decision was made in response to a petition filed on Sept. 20, 2006, by Sunkist Growers Inc., (supported by Ventura Processing), requesting that antidumping duties be levied to offset the unfair prices offered by Argentine and Mexican processors into the U.S. market over the past three years.

“We are very pleased that all the commissioners voted to move forward with this investigation,” said Tim Lindgren, Sunkist President and CEO. “The U.S. has simply been flooded with unfairly priced juice in recent years, disrupting the market and making it very difficult to earn a reasonable return. A thorough investigation is warranted by both the Commission and the Commerce Department.”

On Oct. 13, the ITC held a preliminary conference to review the data contained in the petition concerning the material injury caused by dumped imports from both countries. On Oct. 11, the U.S. Department of Commerce formally decided to initiate an investigation in response to the Sept. 20 petition.

Both the ITC and the U.S. Department of Commerce will continue the investigation, with a preliminary determination of dumping scheduled for Feb. 28, 2007. If affirmative, this decision may impose an antidumping tariff on imports from those countries, which should strengthen the bulk price for juice in the United States.

Given the limited volume of lemon juice which is used in making beverages, any additional duty is very unlikely to be felt by the consumer at the checkout counter, but will help domestic processing remain a viable user of domestic lemons.