Industry Members Discouraged by Blueberry Investigation Verdict

Brian German Fruits & Vegetables, Industry

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) issued a verdict on the recent blueberry investigation. USITC found that imports of fresh, chilled, and frozen blueberries were not sufficiently detrimental to U.S. producers. The Commission found that increased quantities of blueberry imports did not cause substantial injury or pose a serious threat. The American Blueberry Growers Alliance (ABGA) which includes growers from California Georgia, Florida, and Michigan was disappointed by Thursday’s ruling.

Blueberry Investigation

“We disagree with the outcome of the Commissioner’s investigation,” ABGA noted in a statement. “Throughout this case, blueberry growers across the United States provided the ITC with extensive data and personal experiences about the significant harm caused by surging imports on the supply and pricing of blueberries in the U.S. market, especially during our critical growing and harvest seasons.”

The investigation was initially launched in September 2020 at the request of the U.S. Trade Representative. ABGA actively participated in the blueberry investigation, highlighting instances of damages created by increased imports. The claim was made that blueberries coming from Canada, Mexico, and South America were jeopardizing the vitality of American producers. Overall blueberry imports have increased 75 percent over the past five years. Several elected officials and farm groups issued messages of support for the effort to address the issues within the blueberry industry.

USITC was unanimous in its decision regarding the blueberry investigation, resulting in a vote of 5-0. The investigation was conducted under Section 202 of the Trade Act of 1974. “As a result of today’s vote, the investigation will end, and the Commission will not recommend a remedy to the President. The Commission will submit its report containing its injury determination and the basis for it to the President by March 29, 2021,” USITC stated in a press release. A public report pertaining to the investigation will be made available after the report is submitted to the President.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West