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Schumer urges talks to cut Israeli tariff on Concord grapes

WESTFIELD – Sen. Charles E. Schumer met with Chautauqua County Concord grape growers Thursday to announce that he will oppose the Israeli tariff on U.S. grape juice.

Schumer, D-N.Y, announced negotiations with the Israeli government to try to reduce the taxes on Concord grape imports. He made his announcement Thursday in the Grape Discovery Center, a museum and educational location that promotes the unique grape growing region in Chautauqua County.

Schumer said that if the fees are reduced or lifted, it would enable Chautauqua growers to sell more grapes. Schumer explained that Israel currently imposes a 22 percent tariff on any company looking to export more than 100,000 liters of grape juice into the country.

The senator said an exporter known as Kedem, which sends 1.8 million liters of kosher Concord grape juice to Israel each year, is looking to buy more Chautauqua grapes and potentially double its exports. He also added that this would help a region coping with the loss of about 425 jobs over the next year with the closing of ConAgra Plants in Fredonia and Dunkirk.