Background

Higher tariffs and other measures on imported blueberries could result from a safeguard investigation the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has requested that the International Trade Commission initiate. This request covers fresh, chilled, or frozen blueberries classified under HTSUS 0810.40.0029, 0810.40.0026, 0810.40.0024, 0811.90.2024, 0811.90.2030, and 0811.90.2040.

The request was filed under section 201 of the 1974 Trade Act, which requires the ITC to determine whether an article is being imported in such increased quantities as to be a substantial cause or threat of serious injury to a U.S. industry. According to USTR, U.S. import statistics indicate that blueberry imports have greatly increased in recent years and are sourced in major quantities from multiple countries. Witnesses at recent hearings conducted by USTR and other agencies reported that these increased imports are driving down prices for domestically grown blueberries and leading to a drastic reduction in market share for domestic growers.

The ITC now has 120 days to make a decision, 150 if the investigation is deemed extraordinarily complicated. If the ITC’s determination is affirmative it will recommend relief to the president within 180 days after the petition is filed. Section 201 remedies may include tariff increases, quotas, tariff-rate quotas, trade adjustment assistance, or any combination thereof as well as any other action authorized under the law that is deemed likely to facilitate positive adjustment to import competition.

Any relief proposed by the ITC is merely advisory; it is up to the president to make the final decision on whether to provide relief as well as its form, amount, and duration. Relief may initially be imposed for up to four years and extended to no more than eight.

For more information on this global safeguard petition, please contact Kristen Smith.

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