B.C. helps blueberry farmers battle U.S. commerce fee investigation

British Columbia is making a monetary contribution to assist blueberry farmers battle a looming commerce investigation in the USA over imported berries, together with from Canada.

U.S. Commerce Consultant Robert Lighthizer requested an investigation by the U.S. Worldwide Commerce Fee in September after reviews that home farmers are being harm by cheaper imported berries.

B.C.’s Minister for Jobs and Financial Restoration Ravi Kahlon says the province is giving Ottawa about $80,000 for financial analysis to strengthen Canada’s authorized technique forward of a listening to subsequent month.

Kahlon says the overwhelming majority of Canada’s recent blueberry exports to the USA come from about 800 blueberry growers in B.C., whereas total, Canada is a high importer of recent U.S. blueberries.

The commerce fee may advocate tariffs or quotas if it finds U.S. blueberry growers have been injured or are beneath the specter of harm by imports, however Kahlon says he is optimistic a couple of optimistic consequence since Canada’s share of the U.S. berry market has decreased in recent times.

The primary listening to within the investigation is ready for Jan. 12.

“The irony of the entire thing is that Canada, total, really imports extra blueberries than we export to the U.S. It simply occurs to be that B.C. is the most important producer,” Kahlon stated in an interview Wednesday.

A report from Lighthizer’s workplace exhibits that Peru is the highest exporter of blueberries to the USA by worth. Its berry exports have been value about $12.6 million in 2014 and it elevated to greater than $485 million by 2019.

Chile and Mexico have been second and third final yr, whereas Canada’s blueberry exports to the States got here in fourth, valued at nearly $116 million. That is up from just below $102 million 5 years earlier.

‘There isn’t a harm from the Canadian perspective’

Anju Gill, the chief director of the B.C. Blueberry Council, says the price of responding to commerce investigations can exceed $1 million, so the B.C. and federal governments are supporting trade organizations as a authorized crew prepares a case.

“We really feel that there isn’t any harm from the Canadian perspective,” stated Gill, including there hasn’t been a marked surge of Canadian berries into the States.

In a letter to Lighthizer in September, members of Congress from Maine advocated for blueberry producers north of the border, saying the state’s blueberry processing trade is dependent upon bulk imports from Canada.

The processors flip extra perishable berries into frozen merchandise prepared for distribution and sale, the members defined.

“These bulk imports don’t hurt Maine’s home growers of untamed blueberries, however quite these operations enable lots of Maine’s blueberry companies to outlive,” their letter reads.

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