According to the Washington State Potato Commission, Korea is expected to make an announcement early in 2004 as to whether or not it will take fresh potatoes with a non-pathogenic virus.
About one year ago, Korea rejected a load of U.S. potatoes for the virus Verticillium tenerum. USDA and U.S. trade officials in Korea say they have been working with the Koreans to remove V. tenerum from its quarantine list.
The U.S. provided the Korean government with scientific information on the non-harmful nature of the virus and raised the issue during two high-level meetings between the two governments. Removing the virus from the Korean list would allow shipments to enter the country.
USDA officials did not know the Korean position or it's leaning on the issue in late December. There are several directions the matter could go but any scenario will likely involve several months of regulatory changes.
The U.S. Potato Board helped make the first shipment, which was met and rejected in Korean port because of the rare virus.