Blueberry growers win trade ruling

Canada’s blueberry exports to the United States do not injure the American industry, the U.S. International Trade Commission has found.

The ITC began an investigation in September and held hearings in mid-January to see if Canada’s blueberry exports harmed markets for blueberry growers in the U.S.

The Feb. 11 ruling was welcomed in British Columbia by two government ministers: Lana Popham in agriculture and Ravi Kahlon in jobs, economic recovery and innovation.

B.C.’s approximately 800 growers produce about 86,000 tonnes of blueberries annually and export about 70 percent of them, mostly to the U.S. and Japan.

“Today’s decision is welcome news for B.C.’s blueberry industry, as it means B.C. blueberries will not be subject to any trade restrictions. We would like to thank the B.C. Blueberry Council and the Government of Canada for their teamwork in standing up for the interests of our blueberry farmers and their families,” the ministers said in a joint statement.

The ITC said in a statement Feb. 11 that it “has determined that fresh, chilled, or frozen blueberries are not being imported into the U.S. in such increased quantities as to be a substantial cause of serious injury, or threat of serious injury, to the domestic industry producing an article like or directly competitive with the imported article in the United States.”

As a result, the investigation has closed.

Figures from the U.S. Trade Representative show Chile is the largest exporter of blueberries to the U.S. by volume and Peru is largest by value, exporting $485 million worth of blueberries to the U.S. in 2019. Canada exported berries worth $115 million in that same year, making it the fourth largest exporter to the U.S. behind Peru, Chile and Mexico.

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