U.S. Industry Wants Canadian Answers
National Potato Council leaders are very concerned about three areas of recent discussion with Canada and why answers have not been received.
The NPC is preparing a letter to the House Agriculture Committee on the voluntary labeling bill that would repeal the Country-of-Origin labeling provisions contained in the 2002 Farm Bill.
NPC will write the chairman of the committee which will indicate the limitatons of a voluntary approach in addressing the shipment and repackaging of fresh potatose from Canada. It will reiterate the NPC's belief that the current recordkeeping and penalties provided under PACA are adequate to support a labeling program.
In addition, three years ago a management plan was established to monitor potato wart in Canada with a review after the third year to determine the next steps to take.
The NPC says at this point the typing and analysis of recent potato wart finds in Canada have not been completed. An analysis of the potato wart finds is essential in understanding the origin and current status of the potato wart infestation in Canada.
The NPC has sent a letter to APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine deparement regarding the continuation of the management plan. The letter says the U.S. industry opposes any reductions in the management activities set forth for year-three of the plan or any consideration of the allowance of seed shipments until the additional typing activities are completed and have been evaluated by APHIS and industry experts.
In addition, this week a letter from12 members of Congress was sent to Secretary of Commerce Evans regarding the industry's petition on Canada's trade restrictions.
This letter was a follow-up to a letter recently sent to the Dept. of Commerce requesting an evaluation of Canada's system of antidumping duties and ministerial exemptions by the DOC Unfair Trade Practices Task Force.
The letter points out that Canada's arbitrary restrictions placed on U.S. potatoes directly affects the economic interest of U.S. producers and may conflict with international trading rules.
The members signing the letter requested the Task Force give serious consideration to the issues raised by the NPC and develop a strategy and plan of action that will allow fair and consistent access to Canadian markets for U.S. growers.