Canada may be more willing to allow ministerial exemptions for United States potatoes following a pair of meetings held in February.
According to sources, Canadian potato industry representatives objecting to an exemption must promptly and in writing supply the applicant with the names, addresses and phone numbers of their growers who have potatoes that will meet the applicant’s requirements.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency will insist that this be done.
In the past, the need to supply additional potatoes for various needs in Canada have been blocked by growers in neighboring provinces who claim they can meet the needs. Hence, the applicant must use the Canadian potatoes.
The CFIA added that the cost of the potatoes offered for sale cannot be a deciding factor under ministerial exemption regulations. If a grower or grower group is using unreasonable price or unsuitable potatoes, or if they have an insufficient supply of potatoes to meet the applicant’s needs, or are using the ministerial exemption process as a trade barrier, the applicant should bring the matter to the CFIA.
Seed growers in Canada, who annually ship to the United States, are concerned that if the trade of potatoes doesn’t go both directions, they could be damaged by retaliation like that used against the Canadian lumber industry.