The US Commerce Department has introduced preliminary anti-dumping duties of up to 60% on orange juice from Brazil as a result of complaints from Florida citrus growers accusing Brazilian producers of competing unfairly. The duties range from 24.6% for Brazil's largest producer, Sucocitrico Cutrale, to 60.3% for Montecitrus Industria.

The US Commerce Department said it had "sufficient evidence" showing "critical circumstances" in the Florida citrus industry.

The Brazilian Foreign Ministry said it would be seeking to have the levies removed during negotiations in the coming weeks. "We are confident there is no dumping and we will show that," the official was cited as saying in today's (19 August) Financial Times. "It's too early to talk about a (World Trade Organisation) dispute panel."

It has been suggested that the US government would find it difficult to substantiate accusations of dumping if it were to go to a WTO panel. "I think Brazil would have another fairly strong case in the WTO if the case made it to a dispute panel," Mario Marconini, a trade consultant with MM Associates in Sao Paulo, told the Financial Times.

Brazil is the world's leading orange juice producer, with as many as seven out of every 10 glasses consumed outside the US originating there.