ITC ends blueberry import investigation


ITC ends blueberry import investigation

A ruling by the U.S. International Trade Commission this week will put a stop to the blueberry industry’s quest to end import dumping during the domestic season.

The Commission unanimously voted on Thursday that fresh, chilled, or frozen blueberries are not being imported into the United States in such increased quantities that’s causing serious injury or threat to the domestic blueberry industry.

In a statement to Brownfield, the American Blueberry Growers Alliance says it will continue to serve as a unified voice promoting American blueberry famers even though the ITC’s investigation has concluded with a disappointing outcome.  The group says they will continue to advocate on behalf of the interests of growers and farmers across the country – working to find other remedies for the long-term viability of the domestic blueberry industry.

American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall of Georgia also voiced his disappointment on the ruling, saying the decision demonstrates work still needs to be done to address international trade imbalances.

Executive director of the Michigan Blueberry Commission Kevin Robson says explosive growth in imports have taken its toll on the state’s $130 million industry, siting trade data from 2015 to 2019 which shows an increase of more than 60 percent in blueberry imports.  He expects imports again in 2021 to flood the domestic market.

In comments to the ITC, Michigan Farm Bureau President Carl Bednarski pointed to imports from Peru, which have increased by more than 3,500 percent, along with imports from Mexico, up nearly 300 percent, along with their timing during Michigan’s harvest period and extremely low prices, have resulted in a financial hardship for Michigan’s farms. He says growers are struggling to stay in production and is concerned that if the surge of imports continues, there will no longer have a blueberry industry in the state.