The Canadian blueberry industry may have recently celebrated National Blueberry Pancake Day on January 28 but they’re celebrating for a different reason today (February 11).
The U.S. International Trade Commission has found that Canada’s blueberry exports to the U.S. do not injure or threaten the American industry.
On September 29, 2020, former U.S. Trade Representative to the International Trade Commission Robert Lighthizer requested an investigation into the impact of blueberry imports—including from Canada, Mexico, Peru, and Chile—had on U.S. blueberry growers should be conducted.
Jobs, Economic Recovery, and Innovation Minister Ravi Kahlon and Agriculture, Food, and Fisheries Minister Lana Popham issued a joint statement in response to the finding.
"Today's decision is welcome news for B.C.'s blueberry industry, as it means B.C. blueberries will not be subject to any trade restrictions,” they stated. “We would like to thank the B.C. Blueberry Council and the Government of Canada for their teamwork in standing up for the interests of our blueberry farmers and their families.”
The B.C. Blueberry Council stated that it is pleased with the conclusion of the investigation.
B.C. Blueberry Council Board chair Jack Bates explained in a news release that “now our members can focus on the growing year ahead, instead of being concerned with trade penalties”.
Kahlon and Popham said that there are over 800 blueberry growers in B.C.
The B.C. Blueberry Council stated that the province produces an average of about 73,000,000 kilograms (160,937,451 pounds) of blueberries each year, and about 70 percent or approximately 45 million kilograms (100 million pounds) are exported to the United States each season.
In addition, B.C.’s blueberry industry employs over 10,000 people and the highbush blueberry industry is among the top five world producers.