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BC Blueberry Council Statement Re USITC Investigation Conclusion

[Abbotsford, BC] Today, the USITC concluded that the import of Canadian blueberries does not pose a threat to U.S. blueberry producers. The BC Blueberry Council is pleased with the conclusion of this investigation following the commission’s review of the evidence. Chair of the BC Blueberry Council Board, Jack Bates, notes “now our members can focus on the growing year ahead, instead of being concerned with trade penalties.”

John Tentomas, president and CEO of Nature’s Touch, one of BC’s largest exporters of blueberries into the U.S., shares his thoughts: “Blueberries, both cultivated and wild, are very important industries that are fulfilling health and wellness needs of consumers in both the USA and Canada. We face the same opportunities and challenges and have managed them together, as true industry and government peers. We are thankful that this decision continues to reflect on this partnership.”

Parm Bains, president, Westberry Farms, says “getting a confirmation from the authorities proves the position we have always stood by. We look forward to continuing to strengthen business ties and work closely with the United States High Bush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and blueberry buyers and brokers in promoting blueberries in North America.”

Jason Smith, BC Blueberry Council Finance Committee chair and co-founder/crop advisor at Pier Consulting is happy. “This is great news!” he enthuses. “The B.C. industry has been working with the U.S. industry for many years. This ruling shows the importance and recognition of our long history of working together for the betterment of both of our industries.”

B.C. and the U.S. have shared a close relationship for many years, with B.C. being a founding member of the North American Blueberry Council. B.C. has a robust trading relationship with the U.S., with a reciprocal number of berries crossing the border in both directions each year. The U.S. is an important market for the B.C. blueberry industry, with approximately 100 million pounds destined for the United States each season.

The decision made today follows the request made by the United States Trade Representative to the International Trade Commission (ITC) on September 29th, 2020 suggesting that they initiate a Section 201 global safeguard investigation into the extent to which increased imports of blueberries have caused serious injury or threat thereof to domestic blueberry growers. The BC Blueberry Council was proactive from the onset of the investigation, working closely with the Canadian and provincial government to prepare its defense and monitor the situation.

Read the United States International Trade Commission news release here.

Quick Blueberry Economic Facts

  • There are more than 600 growers of premium quality highbush blueberries located in some of Canada’s richest and most fertile farmland in B.C.

  • With more than 11,000 hectares (26,000 acres), British Columbia is one of the largest highbush blueberry growing regions in the world, and the top small fruit export product in Canada.

  • British Columbia’s blueberry industry employs more than 10,000 people on-farm, packing and processing facilities.

  • B.C. produces an average of about 73,000,000 kilograms (160,937,451 lbs) of blueberries each year, about 70 per cent of which are exported.

About the BC Blueberry Council

British Columbia’s pure waters, clean air, rich soils, and moderate climate create perfect growing conditions for blueberries, making BC one of the largest highbush blueberry-growing regions in the world, and Canada’s number one small fruit export. Producing an average of 160 million lbs annually, British Columbia’s highbush blueberry industry ranks among the top five world producers.

The BC Blueberry Council represents more than 600 highbush blueberry growers in British Columbia. The Council’s vision is a sustainable blueberry industry that consistently delivers delicious, top quality blueberries to the world. This is achieved through promotions, research, and providing grower support.

BC Blueberries are versatile and fresh, harvested from July through September, and available frozen for berry lovers year-round. Every berry grown and harvested in BC brings natural energy and superfood health to recipes, tables, kitchens, and berry snackers. Learn more at www.bcblueberry.com.

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