The U.S. International Trade Commission today determined that fresh, chilled, or frozen blueberries “are not being imported into the United States in such increased quantities as to be a substantial cause of serious injury, or the threat of serious injury, to the domestic industry…”
The unanimous 5-0 ruling was made following a safeguard investigation initiated last September, under section 202 of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. § 2252) at the request of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in response to complaints by the recently formed American Blueberry Growers Alliance.
As a result of the ITC’s determination, the investigation will be concluded without any recommendations being made to the administration. A complete report will, however, still be submitted to the president by the end of March and subsequently published; meanwhile, the Commission’s investigation factsheet has been made available to the public.
Why It Matters
Though comprising a relatively small portion of overall U.S. blueberry imports ($116 million out of a worldwide total of $1.24 billion), blueberries are Canada’s top fruit export by volume and by value.
The Trump administration had been pushing for a “comprehensive” approach that would have included imports from Canada, along with those from Chile, Peru, and Mexico (primary sources of the initial complaints by U.S. growers about recent spikes in imports which prompted the investigation).
“Now our members can focus on the growing year ahead, instead of being concerned with trade penalties,” said Jack Bates, chair of the lobby group representing the province’s 800 growers in a statement.