WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. potato industry leaders applaud the announcement made June 18 by U.S. President Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderón to include Mexico in the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations.
The pending agreement is currently being negotiated between Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and the United States. The commitments made today by the United States and Mexico creates a clear path forward to establishing expanded trade in fresh potatoes between the two countries that is based on the strong science-based phytosanitary provisions envisioned by the TPP agreement.
"The decision to strengthen the trade relationship between the U.S. and Mexico is a tremendous win for growers, processors, retailers and consumers on both sides of the border," said National Potato Council Vice President for Trade Affairs Randy Hardy, owner of Hardy Farms in Oakley, Idaho. "The agreement to include Mexico in TPP negotiations highlights the importance of a transparent regulatory system on which phytosanitary decisions can be made."
Collectively, U.S. potato exports to the original eight countries included in TPP negotiations totaled approximately $78 million in 2010. The U.S. potato industry estimates that access to the Mexican fresh potato market could provide an additional market potential of $150 million per year, up from the current $30 million per year in exports.
"Today's announcement is a historic event for U.S. and Mexican potato growers and reinforces the value of science-based decision making between trading partners," said Rob Davis, United State Potato Board Co-Chairman of International Marketing and owner of RHD, Inc. in Connell, Wash. "The mutual responsibilities required by these trade negotiations puts us on a clear path forward to resolving reciprocal market access issues for table stock and processing potatoes."