X

CPA Supports US Blueberry Growers' Case Against Import Surge

January 21, 2021

CPA and a coalition of agricultural groups sent a letter to the International Trade Commission in support of a trade case by blueberry growers. 

Download the Letter

Dear Chairman Kearns and Commissioners:

We write in support of the domestic blueberry growers in the above-referenced investigation.

We understand that domestic blueberry growers have been seriously injured by surging imports of blueberries, which have increased in volume by nearly 62 percent between 2015 and 2019.  These imports have suppressed and undercut prices at the most sensitive times during the harvest cycle, with the effect of significantly diminishing or eliminating profits for domestic growers.  We are also aware that some blueberry growers have been forced to forego harvesting at times because low prices make it uneconomic to pick their blueberries.  Without safeguard relief, the domestic blueberry growers from Florida and Georgia, north to Michigan, and west to California, Oregon, and Washington could be wiped out, accelerating the devastation faced by family farmers and their local communities and undermining the security of our nation’s food supply.

Foreign production for some of the largest exporters has been unnaturally stimulated as a number of countries have provided support to their blueberry growers to increase production rapidly in recent years.  The result is export oriented foreign blueberry industries targeting the United States’ large and open market.  Data on imports of blueberry plants into countries like Mexico and Peru also make clear that future production there is likely to ramp up and further swamp the U.S. market as blueberry bushes mature and reach peak yield in coming years.

All of this is occurring as domestic demand for blueberries is exploding.  Domestic blueberry growers should be reaping the benefits of the growing U.S. market even as they share it with imports.  Instead, family farmers, suppliers, and local communities are being seriously injured as domestic blueberries compete with imports from countries that have lower food safety, labor, and environmental standards.

A number of issues facing our organizations and the domestic blueberry growers are very similar.  We face foreign targeting of U.S. markets and support for expanded production and export of agriculture products.  We face similar conditions of foreign competition with unfair differentials in wages and regulatory regimes (environmental controls, food safety enforcement, etc.), and inadequate country of origin labeling.  And we operate in an environment in which small, independent businesses are in competition with large businesses that favor and benefit from imports. The cumulative effects of imports under these conditions have significant negative impacts on rural agricultural producers and communities.

American agriculture producers, such as the blueberry growers in this case, deserve a chance to sell their goods in the United States at reasonable prices and deserve the breathing space of effective safeguard relief to make the necessary adjustments to sustain a secure domestic supply of blueberries.  We urge the Commission to give full consideration to the facts in this case in recognizing the serious injury affecting domestic blueberry growers.

 

Respectfully,

 

American Grassfed Association

Buckeye Quality Beef Association

Cattle Producers of Louisiana

Cattle Producers of Washington

Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA)

Colorado Independent CattleGrowers Association

Colorado Land, Water & Food Alliance

Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance

Independent Beef Association of North Dakota

Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska

Independent Cattlemen of Wyoming

National Farmers Organization

National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association

Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance

Oklahoma Independent Stockgrowers Association

Range Allotment Owners Association

R-CALF USA

Rural Coalition

Southern Colorado Livestock Association

Stevens County Cattlemen's Association

The American Agriculture Movement

World Farmers  

Letter to Government

Showing 1 reaction