WASHINGTON – The National Potato Council today released the following statement in response to a joint announcement by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Mexico Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development Víctor Villalobos that, according to the agreed workplan, the entire Mexican market would be open no later than May 15 for all U.S. table stock and chipping potatoes:
The National Potato Council appreciates today’s positive announcement and thanks Secretary Vilsack and the teams at USDA and USTR for their efforts to ensure that Mexico lives up to its bilateral trade obligations. Given the history of this 25-year trade dispute, we are waiting to declare victory until we see durable exports of both fresh processing and table stock potatoes throughout all of Mexico as required by the November 2021 signed agreement. We hope the April site visit by Mexican officials will be the last hurdle we need to clear and that no last-minute roadblocks will be erected prior to Mexico finally – and permanently – reopening its border to U.S.-grown potatoes.
Mexico is the largest export market for U.S. potatoes and products valued at $394 million in 2021. Despite the restriction to the 26-kilometer border region Mexico is the second-largest market for fresh potato exports accounting for 124,449 metric tons valued at $60 million in 2021. The U.S. potato industry estimates that access to the entire country for fresh U.S. potatoes will provide a market potential of $250 million per year, in five years.
The National Potato Council represents the interests of U.S. potato growers on federal legislative, regulatory, environmental and trade issues. The value of U.S. potato production is over $4.5 billion annually and supports hundreds of thousands of jobs both directly and indirectly.