TIFTON – Congressman Austin Scott, R-Ga., has released a statement upon joining several other members of Congress, the state Agriculture Commissioners of Georgia and Florida, and blueberry producers in support of protections for the U.S. blueberry industry and the ongoing Section 201 investigation before the International Trade Commission:
“Like many of our nation’s fresh fruit and vegetable growers, blueberry growers have been reeling from years of unfair trade practices that flood our domestic market with cheap foreign-subsidized produce below the cost of production here in the U.S.,” Scott said in the statement. “In some cases, it is uneconomical to even harvest the crop given the low prices caused by imports targeting the U.S. blueberry market.
“Thankfully we do have a Section 201 investigation before the ITC to examine this issue, and I am hopeful that the ITC will recognize that imported blueberries have caused serious injury to the domestic blueberry industry and changes are needed to support our American blueberry growers.”
The virtual hearing was the result of Scott receiving a commitment from United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer after concerns were raised during consideration of the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement.
On Dec. 11, Scott and Rep. Al Lawson, D-Fla., led several of their colleagues in sending a letter to the ITC voicing support for the Section 201 investigation. In addition to the co-signers, the letter was also supported by the American Blueberry Growers Association and the American Farm Bureau Federation.