The USA is the leading producer of blueberries in the world. After all, this is the place where blueberry cultivation began almost 100 years ago. We produce fresh blueberries from March and April in Florida — all the way until late September in the Pacific Northwest. The remaining months –we import fresh blueberries from countries to the south of us. More than $300 million in value each year. Did you realize that there are several producing countries in the world which do not allow entry of US fresh blueberries.
A country has the right to restrict imports for scientifically valid reasons. For example if a country is concerned of a specific pest or market disruption by imports. Typically, restrictions are not necessarily aimed to keep US products out — but the import country will require documentation to assure them that product is safe and not a danger to local agriculture.
We do the same for products entering the USA. The USHBC and North American Blueberry Council (NABC) is involved in market access work to gain entry to China and South Korea (other than Oregon which already has access). We work with our partners at the US Department of Agriculture — Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) who negotiate on our behalf with their counterpart agency in the import country.
USHBC/NABC works to provide APHIS with the tools necessary to gain market access including voluminous information on our industry and a comprehensive list of pests. This information is shared with the import country along with mitigating measures which are taken to ensure safety. This is a long and arduous process and we will will keep up the fight till we get access!