National Potato Council Applauds First Shipments Of U.S. Fresh Potatoes To Mexico in 25 Plus Years

U.S. growers appreciate partnership with USDA, USTR in reopening full Mexican market to U.S. potatoes

Published online: May 12, 2022 Articles
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Washington – The National Potato Council today welcomed the news that the first shipments of U.S. fresh potatoes crossed into Mexico yesterday, May 11. The successful crossings signal the start of Mexico’s process to restore full market access for U.S. fresh potatoes after decades of disputes and legal obstructions.

“This is an important moment for the U.S. potato industry and our partners in the federal government who have fought for decades to restore access to this vital market, but we know the work is not over if we are to keep the border open,” NPC President and Washington state potato grower Jared Balcom, said.

The shipments come after more than 25 years of regulatory and legal obstructions by Mexico, and one year after the Mexican Supreme Court ruled unanimously that U.S. fresh potatoes were legally authorized to be imported.

“Today’s news wouldn’t be possible without the tireless work of Secretary Tom Vilsack, Ambassador Katherine Tai, and their outstanding teams at USDA and USTR,” NPC CEO Kam Quarles said. "Both agencies have made the restoration of U.S. potato access a top U.S. trade priority. We thank them for getting us to this important step and we will need their continued partnership to ensure that the border remains open as we seek to grow the Mexican market for potatoes.”

Mexico is the largest export market for U.S. potatoes and products valued at $394 million in 2021. Despite the previous restriction to the 26-kilometer border region, Mexico was the second-largest market for fresh potato exports in 2021, accounting for 124,449 metric tons valued at $60 million last year. The U.S. potato industry estimates that access to the entire country for fresh U.S. potatoes will provide a market potential of $250 million per year, in five years.

Following is the press release from the U.S. Animal and Plant Inspection Service

U.S. Fresh Potatoes Begin Export To Mexico

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and Mexico’s national plant protection organization (SENASICA) announce that the United States has begun exporting potatoes beyond the 26-kilometer border zone that previously marked the limit of their export. The two countries reached an agreement late last year to expand that market access for U.S. potatoes, something that the United States has sought for more than 25 years.

“Through this accomplishment, we are delivering better markets for U.S. farmers, supporting economic growth, and providing access to our southern neighbors to the high-quality and safe products our farmers work hard every day to grow and sustain. USDA will continue to fight for new and expanded markets for American products as we help the nation build back better,” said U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

The U.S. potato industry estimates that this access for U.S. fresh potatoes to all of Mexico will provide a market potential of $250 million per year, in five years. This is an increase of $190 million from the current export value of $60 million.