Hoeven: DHS Appropriations Bill Provides Honey Producers with Long-Overdue Compensation for Unfair Foreign Trade

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Bill includes a provision he wrote and included to provide the nation’s honey producers, including many in North Dakota, with long overdue compensation for unfair foreign trade practices.

The Honey Marketing Association believes the new legislation could result in more than $100 million going to honey producers over the next several years. North Dakota is the nation’s top honey producing state, harvesting about 33 million pounds of honey a year.

“Many of our honey producers have been waiting for a decade to be compensated for unfair trade practices, and when they do get paid, the amount is greatly diminished because the federal government collects interest on it for itself first,” said Hoeven, who serves on the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee. “The new DHS appropriations bill requires Customs and Border Protection to rewrite the rules allowing them to pay principal to victims of unfair trade before the government pays itself interest.”

In 2000, Congress passed legislation to ensure that domestic producers injured by importers who are subsidized by their governments or dump products on the U.S. market were compensated from the proceeds of claims against those importers. To date, however, only $61 million has been distributed from DHS’s Customs and Border Protection to honey producers, many of which are in North Dakota. Some have been waiting for more than a decade for their compensation.

The problem is that federal regulations require that the US Government pay itself interest prior to paying producers. Because many claims are more than ten years old, and the repayment of interest consumes the majority of the claims, so honey producers are getting paid less because the US Government is paying itself interest on claims that have languished for years. The new DHS appropriations bill requires CBP to rewrite the current regulation to ensure that principal is paid prior to interest. This will ensure producers are paid the money they are owed based on unfair trade practices.