A possible US trade action against blueberry imports could impact some 40% of the US blueberry market, potentially pushing prices higher.
US imports of blueberries have surged 700% from about 50 million pounds in 2005 to almost 400 million pounds in 2018. The Trump administration has asked the US International Trade Commission to open a Section 201 probe into whether the increase in blueberry imports is harming US growers of the fruit.
US blueberry production has also risen sharply, to 735 million pounds in 2019 from 287 million pounds in 2007. And US farm cash receipts from blueberries sit at 10-year highs. Top US blueberry growing states include Washington, Oregon, Georgia, and Michigan.
Although the US is the world’s largest producer of blueberries, the country is a net importer to meet demands during the winter months. Most US imports come from Chile, because of the countries’ opposite growing seasons. But Canada and Mexico are also big suppliers to the US market.
Retail prices for US blueberries hit seasonal peaks in April and October following the end of harvest in Chile and the US, respectively. Retail prices of conventional blueberries are lowest during May, June, and July, which coincides with US domestic production entering the market.
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