U.S. potato exports to Mexico have stopped in response to a lawsuit by Mexican growers.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service closed all border crossings to potato exports, according to Mark Szymanski, director of public relations for the National Potato Council in Washington, D.C.
Szymanski said the council received an e-mail June 9 from John Toaspern, vice president of international marketing for the Denver-based U.S. Potato Board. The e-mail confirmed the border closing. The same day, Toaspern informed the council that the Mexican Potato Growers Association filed a lawsuit against the Mexican government seeking to block the new rule allowing U.S. potato exports to all parts of Mexico.
In that e-mail, Szymanski said, Toaspern recommended that U.S. shippers stop shipping potatoes to Mexico.
Mexico’s rule, published in mid-March, opened the entire country to U.S. fresh exports. Before that, exports were limited to a 16-mile zone south of the U.S./Mexico border.
Szymanski said it’s not a big surprise that the implementation of the rule is facing challenges.
“We always knew there would be some hiccups,” he said. “I don’t think anyone’s absolutely shocked.”
At the time the rule was announced, Szymanski said the value of annual fresh potato exports from the U.S. to Mexico could jump from $30 million to $100 million.
Source: The Packer