Earlier this month, the U.S. Trade Representative elected to utilize its authority to request that the International Trade Commission commence a Section 201 investigation for blueberries. Following this announcement, the California Blueberry Commission officially voted to adopt the position to actively support this Section 201 global safeguard investigation at their September 22, 2020 Board of Directors meeting.
California has high volumes of specialty crop production, and blueberries are no exception. With the industry on track to produce roughly 70 million pounds of blueberries for the 2020 season, California continues to be major producer of fresh blueberries. However, as imports have continued to rise over the years, California growers have found it increasingly difficult to compete with the volume from foreign producers. Additionally, the CBC recognizes that foreign competition from imported blueberries negatively impacts not just the California blueberry industry but the United States blueberry industry as a whole.
Following deliberation at the CBC's annual Board of Directors meeting, the CBC felt it was vital to vote in support of the Section 201 investigation in order to maintain the viability of the domestic California blueberry industry. As a result of this vote, the CBC agreed to allocate all available staff and financial resources to this effort. While the CBC acknowledges that a Section 201 global safeguard investigation is only a temporary measure, they found it imperative to uphold the overall mission of the CBC which is "to support the long term economic viability of individual California blueberry growers."