On September 29, 2020, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) requested that the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) 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.” This is one of numerous proposed actions announced in the Report on Seasonal and Perishable Products in U.S. Commerce jointly released by USTR, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Commerce in early September.
USTR’s request includes all imports with these product descriptions under the following statistical reporting categories in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS):
- 0810400029 (cultivated blueberries, including highbush, fresh or chilled);
- 0810400026 (certified organic blueberries, fresh or chilled);
- 0810400024 (wild blueberries, fresh or chilled);
- 0811902024 (wild blueberry, uncooked or cooked by steaming or boiling in water, frozen);
- 0811902030 (blueberries, certified organic, cultivated (including highbush), uncooked or cooked by steaming or boiling in water, frozen); and
- 0811902040 (blueberries, cultivated (including highbush), uncooked or cooked by steaming or boiling in water, NESOI, frozen).
It is expected that the ITC will soon publish notice of the commencement of this investigation in the Federal Register and will hold public hearings to allow interested parties and consumers an opportunity to present evidence or otherwise be heard. Thompson Hine’s International Trade attorneys and professionals are monitoring this investigation and will provide further updates as warranted.