Blueberry Imports Don’t Hurt U.S. Farmers, Trade Commission Says

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The U.S. International Trade Commission said blueberry imports aren’t posing a serious threat to American farmers, ending a bid by the Trump administration to curb incoming shipments of the fruit.

In September, Trump’s U.S. Trade Representative asked the ITC to probe whether blueberry imports have hurt American growers. At the time, the steps appeared to be an attempt to win over producers in some key swing states and followed years of requests for protection by Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, who are both from Florida. Peru, Chile and Mexico are among the top sources of U.S. blueberry imports.

“Fresh, chilled or frozen blueberries aren’t being imported into the U.S. in such increased quantities as to be a substantial cause of serious injury, or the threat of serious injury, to the domestic industry,” the ITC said in a statement Thursday.

The USTR’s initial request came two months before the November presidential election when then-President Donald Trump was trying to make good on a number of trade promises to protect key constituencies in swing states to bolster support for his campaign and vulnerable Senate Republicans.

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