Larsen Disappointed in USITC’s Blueberry Imports Determination, Vows to Support Domestic Producers
Today, Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) expressed his disappointment in the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) determination that foreign blueberry imports are not causing serious injury to domestic blueberry producers.
“I am disappointed to see the USITC conclude blueberry imports have not severely harmed U.S. producers,” said Larsen. “Northwest Washington’s blueberry farmers have told me how surging low-cost imports have created an uneven playing field, threatening farms and livelihoods. I will review the USITC decision closely and work with Northwest Washington farmers and other members to ensure local producers are able to compete on fair terms.”
Washington state is one of the top producing blueberry states in the country, and Whatcom County in Washington’s Second District is the top blueberry producing county in the state. Low-cost blueberry imports from several countries, including Chile, Peru, Mexico, Argentina and Canada, increased more than 60 percent from 423 million pounds in 2014 to 684 million pounds in 2019. This surge in imports had a devastating effect on the domestic blueberry industry, leading to a steep drop in blueberry prices, lower profits, job losses and farm closures. Last year, Larsen joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers calling on the USITC to rule in favor of domestic blueberry producers squeezed by an influx of low-cost blueberry imports.