Blueberry growers will soon have a chance to make their case against unfair trade practices from Mexico and other countries.
Jerome Crosby, Georgia blueberry grower and chairman of the American Blueberry Growers Alliance, confirmed on Tuesday during the Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference that the group will present their case to the International Trade Commission (ITC) on Tuesday, Jan. 12.
“On Jan. 12, we will be providing physical testimony to the ITC Committee. All parties of leadership will be at the table. We will be speaking directly to the commissioners. We will be presenting our cases and our comments. Those of us who are making comments, we will be putting those comments in under a signed affidavit. This is where the rubber meets the road,” Crosby said.
Crosby said the blueberry group will have 60 minutes to make its case on Jan. 12, which will include testimony from legislative delegation from all states and featured speakers, including Crosby and Brittany Lee, Executive Director of the Florida Blueberry Growers Association.
However, Crosby also cautions that groups who oppose the 201 investigation will have the same amount of time to present their cases. So, it is not a slam dunk that the ITC will issue a remedy.
“It’s going to be one hour of us versus maybe five, six or seven hours of opposition. I still feel good about our case because the data and the facts are on our side. We’ve got good numbers. We’ve got a good team working with us. We’re doing all the right things,” Crosby said. “But to say it’s not a little bit intimidating would be misleading you. We’ve got a big mountain to climb.”
Crosby added that after the Jan. 12 meeting, the ITC will have 30 days to file a report.
The meeting with the ITC stems from virtual hearings held last August. The two hearings provided the U.S. Department of Commerce and Trump Administration an opportunity to hear from seasonal produce growers in Georgia and Florida about the urgent need for federal action regarding unfair trade.
Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference
The conference, which is normally held in January in Savannah, is being held virtually this year due to COVID-19 concerns. The three-day event will be held through Thursday, Jan. 7.
For more information, or to register for the event, click here.