The US International Trade Commission (ITC) instituted a global safeguard investigation concerning imports of fresh, chilled or frozen blueberries, pursuant to Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974, on October 6, 2020. In its investigation, the ITC will determine whether fresh, chilled or frozen blueberries are being imported into the United States in such increased quantities as to be “a substantial cause of serious injury, or the threat thereof” to the domestic industry producing like or directly competitive products. If the ITC makes an affirmative finding, it may recommend, and the President may impose, tariffs or other restrictions on imports of the subject merchandise for up to four years, with a possible extension to eight years. The initiation of a global safeguard investigation is therefore an important development for the industry.
This alert provides an overview of Section 201, the next steps in the investigation, and the process by which interested parties can participate in the investigation.
Section 201 permits the United States to impose import relief measures when increased imports are found to cause or threaten to cause serious injury to a domestic industry. Based on a petition by members of a domestic industry, a request by the President or US Trade Representative, a resolution by either the House Committee on Ways and Means or the Senate Finance Committee, or on its own motion, the ITC investigates whether increased imports cause or threaten to cause serious injury to a domestic industry. If the ITC makes an affirmative injury