U.S. potato growers, anxious to begin shipment of fresh potatoes abroad, will have to wait for science and import protocol measures to catch up.
Washington state Governor Gary Locke and a delegation from Washington made a trade mission to China earlier this month. Meeting with General Administration of Quality Supervision Inspections and Quarantine Minister Li Chang Jiang, Locke asked for an early resolution to the pest-risk assessment for fresh potato imports.
Jiang agreed that he would try to expedite critical technical questions hopefully leading the way for Washington fresh potatoes to enter China.
Locke told Jiang that he has written U.S Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Bill Hawks concerning access to the U.S. market for Chinese Ya pears, longans, lychees and artificial dwarfed plants.
Both the United States and China have market-access issues that need to be quickly solved. Locke asked for the issues on trade liberalization be transparent, balancing the economic benefits of trade based on sound science to safeguard human and plant health.
China is Washington's third largest trading partner with bilateral trade exceeding $15.2 billion last year.