NPC: Growers Disadvantaged by Mexico

Published in the November 2010 Issue Published online: Nov 06, 2010
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WASHINGTON, D.C.-The National Potato Council (NPC) is disappointed by the lack of resolution in the ongoing trade dispute centering on Mexican trucks in the United States.

As a result of the dispute generated by the failure of the U.S. to live up to its obligations under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), U.S. growers remain at a disadvantage in the Mexican market. While Canadian frozen potato imports continue to enter Mexico duty-free, U.S. growers have no such access and continue to pay the price for U.S. government inaction.

Mexico is the one of the largest export markets for U.S. frozen potatoes, with more than $81 million worth being purchased in the 12 months directly preceding the tariff retaliation. In the 12 months following March 2009, when the tariff was imposed, that number dropped to $42 million. Under the tariff schedule released in August, frozen potatoes will be subject to a 5 percent tariff rather than the 20 percent tariff put in place in March 2009. While reducing the tariff improves the situation for potato products to some degree, until a credible plan is put forward by the administration to resolve the dispute, frozen products and other agriculture products subject to the retaliatory tariffs will lose market share and eliminate jobs in the United States.