UDSA Trade Mission To Japan Improves Trade Opportunities For Idaho Products

Published online: Jun 26, 2023 Articles
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Boise, Idaho – The Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) and the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) have concluded a successful five-day agricultural trade mission to Japan. The Idaho delegation included ISDA Director Chanel Tewalt, IPC Chairman Bryan Wada, IPC Vice President of Legal and Government Affairs Sam Eaton and ISDA trade specialist Chelsea Conlon.

The trade mission was organized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and was led by USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Alexis M. Taylor. The U.S. delegation included 11 state departments of agriculture, numerous farm organizations and 40 agribusinesses.

“I am very encouraged by the discussions we had in Japan, and especially pleased to have been able to leverage the scale and depth of this mission to advocate for Idaho’s producers,” said Tewalt. “Japan has long been one of Idaho’s strongest trading partners. Throughout our trip, we heard a common message: Japan is a mature market, but it is full of opportunity.”

In Japan, the Idaho delegation had a clear focus on promoting market access for U.S. fresh potatoes. Japan is one of Idaho’s top and most reliable trading partners and is the fourth-largest market for U.S. food and agricultural exports. Access to the Japan market for U.S. fresh potatoes could result in an additional $150 million per year in exports, according to the National Potato Council.

“We had a very productive trip, and I believe our collective efforts are moving the needle closer to market access for U.S. table-stock potatoes into Japan,” said Wada. “With our high-quality product and international brand recognition, I believe Idaho potatoes are positioned to do particularly well in the Japanese market.”

Under Secretary Taylor, Director Tewalt and state representatives met with Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to discuss the status of market access negotiations for U.S. commodities.

“It is important that we continue to apply pressure on the Japanese government,” said Eaton. “Thankfully, Director Tewalt was able to advocate for fresh potato access in her meeting with Japanese government officials. We also have broad support from our partners at the National Potato Council and Potatoes USA as well as the entire Idaho Congressional Delegation. We are fresh off our recent success in Mexico and the potato industry needs to carry that momentum into our efforts with Japan.”

While in Japan, the Idaho delegation also met with USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service officials to further discuss the status of market access negotiations. The group received in-depth market briefings from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, met with large import coordinators and participated in retail site visits. The Idaho delegation also facilitated discussion with top potato processors in Japan including Simplot, McCain Foods and Lamb Weston.