U.S. Senators Gardner, Risch, Crapo Call for Increased Access for Fresh Potato Exports to Mexico

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Jim Risch (R-ID), and Mike Crapo (R-ID) are calling on U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer to continue to advocate for increased access for United States fresh potato exports to Mexico during any trade negotiations with the Mexican government.

“Although U.S. potato producers can ship processed, dried, and frozen potatoes to Mexico, their access to the fresh potato market has been severely restricted and exports are only permitted within an approximately sixteen-mile zone south of the U.S.-Mexico border,” the Senators wrote. “This limitation greatly reduces opportunities for U.S. potato producers and further limits options for Mexican consumers. We encourage you to consider the use of all available mechanisms, including the new dispute resolution authority under the USMCA, to ensure Mexico honors its agreement to allow U.S. potatoes to reach Mexican consumers.”

The full text of their letter is available here and below:

We write to urge you to continue to advocate for increased access for United States fresh potato exports to Mexico during the course of any trade negotiations with the Mexican government.

On May 19, 2014, U.S. potato exporters were finally allowed to export fresh potatoes throughout Mexico. Unfortunately, the Mexican potato industry represented through Comité Nacional Sistema Producto Papa (CONPAPA) sued the Mexican government and the general U.S. fresh potato export ban was reinstated. Currently, this issue is pending before the Mexican Supreme Court.

We strongly support the benefits of trade between the United States and Mexico—in 2019 alone, our countries engaged in nearly $615 billion in trade. With the recent conclusion of the United States-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement (USMCA), U.S.-Mexico trade will continue to grow even more and benefit producers and consumers in both countries.

Although U.S. potato producers can ship processed, dried, and frozen potatoes to Mexico, their access to the fresh potato market has been severely restricted and exports are only permitted within an approximately sixteen-mile zone south of the U.S.-Mexico border. This limitation greatly reduces opportunities for U.S. potato producers and further limits options for Mexican consumers. We encourage you to consider the use of all available mechanisms, including the new dispute resolution authority under the USMCA, to ensure Mexico honors its agreement to allow U.S. potatoes to reach Mexican consumers.

As you continue market access conversations with Mexico, we again urge you to continue to advocate for U.S. fresh potato exports and to further strengthen U.S.-Mexico trade relations.

SOURCE: Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.

By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.