In a letter to President Donald Trump, the National Potato Council (NPC) provided specific recommendations on how the administration can improve the terms of trade for potato exports under NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement).
“Improving NAFTA can benefit rural America and our nation’s economy,” says NPC executive vice president and CEO John Keeling. “The potato industry is strongly supportive of building on the successes we have seen over the life of NAFTA.”
Canada and Mexico are currently the second- and third-largest markets for U.S. potato products. With greater access to U.S. fresh and processed potatoes in Mexico and Canada, the U.S. would experience increased job growth on farms, in processing plants and in the transportation industry. Conversely, an outright withdrawal from NAFTA would mean the loss of over $500 million in direct potato exports to Mexico and Canada and substantially greater indirect losses.
A key improvement that the NPC supports is an enhanced “SPS Plus” phytosanitary chapter to reduce the use of unscientific pest and disease issues as non-tariff barriers. Such an improvement would eliminate burdens that have blocked fresh potato exports to Mexico for over a decade. In Canada, the NPC believes anti-dumping determinations must be based on solid economic analysis conducted by neutral third parties and not by those benefiting from their imposition.
“The potato industry stands ready to work with the administration and Congress in pursuing these improvements for NAFTA, along with any future bilateral or multi-lateral agreements that may benefit our producers,” says Keeling.