Pepper Trade Investigations

Pepper Trade Investigations

October 28, 2020 | OPVG

Dear OPVG Grower Member,

Trade investigations have been initiated by the United States Trade Representative on bell peppers as well as strawberries and blueberries. 

Please see the following member note from Canadian Horticultural Council regarding this issue.  Of note is the link to the Report on Seasonal and Perishable Products in U.S. Commerce.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office.


Dear CHC Members,

As you are likely already well aware, the United States Trade Representative (USTR), US Departments of Agriculture and Commerce have announced a comprehensive plan to address threats that increased imports pose to American seasonal and perishable fruits and vegetables (see Report on Seasonal and Perishable Products in U.S. Commerce published on September 1st).
Three separate investigations are currently underway or expected shortly: a Global Safeguard investigation into blueberries (wild, highbush, fresh and frozen), and fact-finding investigations into bell peppers and strawberries. As the investigations have implications for products across production types including field and greenhouse, and all regions, it is very important to get organized, be represented and remain engaged.
Blueberries: On Sept. 29th USTR Robert Lighthizer formally requested the US International Trade Commission (USITC) to launch a Section 201 Global Safeguard investigation into whether imports of blueberries are causing injury to domestic US producers. Last Friday, the USITC issued its foreign producer questionnaire, to which Canadian blueberry producers and exporters will be required to respond. The USITC’s investigation will lead to a recommendation, in March next year, as to whether the U.S. President should impose a duty or a quantitative restriction (such as a quota) on imports into the United States, including from Canada. In order to defend your interests and increase the likelihood that no such tariff or quota will be imposed, it is very important that Canadian producers fully participate in the investigation, including by filling out the foreign producer questionnaire.

Growers and exporters should have received the questionnaire by now from USITC. It is complex and will require significant time and efforts to complete and the deadline is very short – November 16.
Bell peppers and strawberries: Section 332 fact-finding investigations into these two products are likely to be announced on October 27.  The USTR letter to the USITC will list HS codes within the scope of the investigation. These investigations are likely to transition into an expedited Section 201 Global Safeguard investigation, after a minimum of 90 days of monitoring. After this, the US International Trade Commission (USITC) could recommend to the President, within 21 days, that a provisional tariff or quota (among other measures) be applied to imports.
The CHC Greenhouse Working Group, Vegetable WG, and Berry WG have each been involved in industry calls to organize, look into the preliminary trade data, and options for U.S. legal counsel – supported with information provided by AAFC and Global Affairs Canada.