MACON, Ga. — United States Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer has asked the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) to initiate a Section 201 global safeguard investigation into the extent to which increased imports of blueberries have caused serious injury or threat to domestic blueberry growers.
This is one of multiple actions announced in the Report on Seasonal and Perishable Products in U.S. Commerce jointly released by USTR, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Commerce in September following August hearings with producers in Georgia, Florida and other states. In the hearings, growers voiced their frustrations at their dwindling market share in the face of cheaper Mexican imports. Read more information about the federal government’s plan here.
The USTR’s request includes all imports within the product descriptions under the following statistical reporting categories in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States:
- 0810400029 (cultivated blueberries, including highbush, fresh or chilled);
- 0810400026 (certified organic blueberries, fresh or chilled);
- 0810400024 (wild blueberries, fresh or chilled);
- 0811902024 (wild blueberry, uncooked or cooked by steaming or boiling in water, frozen);
- 0811902030 (blueberries, certified organic, cultivated (including highbush), uncooked or cooked by steaming or boiling in water, frozen); and
- 0811902040 (blueberries, cultivated (including highbush), uncooked or cooked by steaming or boiling in water, NESOI, frozen).
The ITC published notice of the commencement of this proceeding in the Federal Register on Oct. 9. The Federal Register notice, which includes instructions on how to participate in the investigation, can be found at https://gfb.ag/20ITCblueberryinvestig. USITC has scheduled public hearings for Jan. 12, 2021, and Feb. 25, 2021, during which the interested parties and consumers may present evidence or otherwise be heard.
–Georgia Farm Bureau