The United States International Trade Commission has concluded that the import of Canadian blueberries does not pose a threat to American blueberry producers.
The decision was made following a request made by the United States Trade Representative to the International Trade Commission on Sept. 29, 2020 suggesting that they initiate an investigation into the extent to which increased imports of blueberries have caused injury or threat to domestic growers.
The USITC vote, which occurred on Feb. 11, resulted in a unanimous 5-0 vote. A public report based on the investigation will be available for the public to view later this year.
The BC Blueberry Council stated they are pleased with the decision.
“Now our members can focus on the growing year ahead, instead of being concerned with trade penalties,” said BC Blueberry council chair Jack Bates.
According to a press release from the BC Blueberry Council, its members were proactive from the onset of the investigation, working with the Canadian and provincial government to prepare a defense and monitor the situation.
Parm Bains, the president of Abbotsford-based Westberry Farms, stated the decision is a positive step forward for local growers.
“Getting a confirmation from the authorities proves the position we have always stood by,” he said. “We look forward to continuing to strengthen business ties and work closely with the United States High Bush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and blueberry buyers and brokers in promoting blueberries in North America.”
John Tentomas, the president and CEO of Abbotsford-based Nature’s Touch, was also satisfied with the ruling.
“Blueberries, both cultivated and wild, are very important industries that are fulfilling health and wellness needs of consumers in both the USA and Canada,” he said. “We face the same opportunities and challenges and have managed them together, as true industry and government peers. We are thankful that this decision continues to reflect on this partnership.”
According to the release, the U.S. is an important market for the B.C. blueberry industry, with approximately 100 million pounds destined for the United States each season.