ITC does not find serious damages in relation to blueberry imports

Southeastern blueberry growers took a hit today with respect to Investigation 201 on the serious damage imports have had on the domestic industry.

The US International Trade Commission determined by vote Thursday that “fresh, chilled, or frozen blueberries are not being imported into the United States in quantities so large as to cause substantial cause of serious injury or threat of serious injury to the country. industry that produces an article similar to or directly competitive with the article imported into the United States."

As a result, the investigation ends and the commission will not recommend a remedy to the president.

Very discouraging: GFVA CEO reacts to ITC's blueberry import verdict

It was not the verdict that Charles Hall envisioned.

“Very surprised and very, very disappointed,” he said after Thursday's International Trade Commission (ITC) vote on the Section 201 investigation into serious injury surrounding blueberry imports.

The USITC considered that imports of fresh, chilled or frozen blueberries do not constitute serious injury to the domestic industry. It goes against what members of the American Blueberry Growers Alliance testified during the virtual hearing with ITC in January. Statistics say that blueberry imports have increased exponentially, while farmers in the Southeast have paid the price.

“It is very disappointing the effort put into this and the data, personal experiences and harm that has been shown and they have decided that no harm has been shown,” said Hall, executive director of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Association ( GFVA). "It's very heartbreaking."

Amazing statistics

“The other party was trying to argue that the blueberry imports had no effect. From 2009 to 2019, I think that's the data we have, it was an increase of more than 2,000%. It is simply amazing. They basically won the case, they won the battle; increased imports had no effect on falling prices, "added Hall.

“I don't understand how so many blueberries are coming into the market, prices are falling like they were falling, and imported berries don't have any effect on that.”

As a result, the investigation ends and the commission will not recommend a remedy to the president. But that doesn't end the struggle of blueberry growers in the Southeast. They are imploring consumers to buy local products.

“We will look at whether there are other ways to adjust US trade laws. The sad thing about this is that they have shown that they can produce and ship produce, whether it's berries or whatever, other vegetables with $10 a day of work. They can ship it cheaper than we can produce it here,” Hall said. “It will be up to the American consumer to support the American farmer if we are going to continue to grow fruits and vegetables in the US.”

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