U.S. potato industry groups are preparing comments regarding the Mexican government's proposed policy changes on fresh potato imports, fearing they would worsen an existing trade disparity.
The U.S. potato industry has worked more than a decade to open the Mexican fresh potato export market beyond the current limit of 16 miles from the border.
Many in the industry had been optimistic that a resolution was near due to Mexico's desire to participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. Furthermore, findings of an international panel of experts convened through the North American Plant Protection Organization confirmed Mexico should address only six potato pests of concern in importing from the U.S.
But in late November, the Mexican government proposed policy changes identifying more than 80 pests of concern, and opening its borders to fresh potatoes from other countries.
"There was no question the modifications to the original document were not conducive to promoting trade (with the U.S.)," said John Keeling, executive vice president and CEO of the National Potato Council. "It's still got a long way to go through their regulatory process."
SOURCE: John O'Connell, Capital Press