Fresh B.C. blueberries will soon head to China

Abbotsford MP Ed Fast announces that deal between China and Canada has been initialed

Abbotsford MP and Minister of International Trade Ed Fast speaks at Westberry Farms on Wednesday about a new agreement to trade fresh blueberries with China.

Abbotsford MP and Minister of International Trade Ed Fast speaks at Westberry Farms on Wednesday about a new agreement to trade fresh blueberries with China.

Canada and China have entered into a deal to provide sustained market access for fresh B.C. blueberries, Abbotsford MP Ed Fast announced.

Fast, who is the minister of international trade, made the announcement today at Westberry Farms in Abbotsford, owned by Parm and Satwinder Bains.

Chinese inspectors are expected to visit Canada this summer to carry out a pre-shipment inspection and to authorize the first shipments of blueberries to China. Fast said they expect that will then open the market to permanent access for Canadian blueberries.

Fast said the announcement marked a “big day” for Abbotsford and B.C., as once the deal is fully implemented, the Canadian blueberry industry estimates new access to this market to be worth $65 million annually.

“The importance of blueberries to this region of the country cannot be overstated,” said Fast.

He said the government has been working on opening up the Chinese market to Canadian blueberries for years.

“It means significantly more opportunities, not only to grow blueberries, but to process blueberries.”

In 2014, B.C. produced about 65,500 tonnes of high bush blueberries, worth more than $110 million. Blueberries are Canada’s largest fruit export, both in terms of value and volume.