Mexican proposal puts more limits on potato trade

12/28/2012 03:18:00 PM
Coral Beach

“But the potato discussion has been going on for years and has been contentious. I really don’t think the tomato agreement has any impact on us (the potato industry).”

JungmeyerLance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas in Nogales, Ariz., is concerned about the potato rule, as well as the U.S. tomato suspension agreement with Mexico. However, he stopped short of saying the two trade issues are related.

“Absent pest concerns, we support open markets between the U.S. and Mexico for all items, but unfortunately we’ve been drawn into a wild goose chase that is sapping away resources to move trade forward between both countries,” Jungmeyer said Jan. 3.

“The food production in both countries is complementary, and consumers in both countries should be able to enjoy food at reasonable prices that meets market demand.”

Full access to the Mexican market would allow U.S. growers to reach 70 million to 80 million more consumers, Keeling said. Industry leaders say full access would mean $150 million in export value to U.S. growers.

The National Potato Council plans to submit comments on the Nov. 20 proposal, as does the Idaho Potato Commission, said Patrick Kole, commission vice president of legal and government affairs.

“We plan to submit comments the week of Jan. 14 and will discuss in broad terms the pest mitigation and other factors,” Kole said.

“The U.S. potato industry speaks with one voice on this issue and we know the National Potato Council is working to deliver the message.”

The Washington Potato Commission, Moses Lake, Wash., also plans to submit comments, said Matt Harris, assistant executive director. He said Washington exported 21,000 tons of potatoes to Mexico this past year.

“We are trying to figure out why they made the change,” Harris said. “There is no clear answer to that question. For 10 years they were working in one direction and then (in November) everything changed.”

A bipartisan group of 17 U.S. senators from potato-producing states is also pursuing enforcement of the terms of the 2003 agreement. The senators sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Dec. 21 asking for the administration’s help to resolve the potato export issue.

Senators who signed that letter were: Mark Udall, D-Colo.; Michael Bennet, D-Colo.; Mike Crapo, R-Idaho; Kent Conrad, D-N.D.; Carl Levin, D-Mich.; Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.; John Hoeven, D-N.D.; Susan Collins, R-Maine; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Patty Murray, D-Wash.; Max Bacus, D-Mont.; James Risch, R-Idaho; Ron Wyden, D-Ore.; Al Franken, D-Minn.; Ron Johnson, R-Wis.; Jon Tester, D-Mont.; and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.


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Larry Harrison    
Arizona  |  December, 28, 2012 at 07:58 PM

Why would the 5 rulling famialies give up a slice of the pie? Everything is controled thru them, from Seed, acarage, and Marketing.

andy    
mex  |  December, 30, 2012 at 10:44 PM

Mexico dosent need to open up de borders to the american potatoes. There is enough mexican potatoes in the market and the prices are very low for the growers. If this happen prices are going to be lower than the cost production. This would kick out of the market the mexican growers.

Bill    
McAllen  |  December, 31, 2012 at 02:26 PM

They will allow smuggled in and they will tun their head. Cost 10,000.00 per load why would they want legal in.... Their is no money In legal Spuds going in they like the contraband just like the Apples get a judge to approve it and see how much money the officials will make.

Max    
Immokalee  |  January, 02, 2013 at 08:58 AM

I have a comment, Close the Border to ALL Traffic!

Charlie    
California  |  January, 02, 2013 at 09:07 AM

Could this be the opening salvo from Mexico retaliating for the administration's stance on Mexican tomatoes? The potato industry refused to weigh in on this issue. I hope this doesn't get worse.

Gil    
Nogales  |  January, 02, 2013 at 09:41 AM

“Mexico shoots another one across the bow”, or… “You say Tomato, I say Potato”… let’s call the whole thing off.

Chuck    
Fla  |  January, 02, 2013 at 10:36 AM

Why don't we impose the same pest list for imported Mexican tomatoes? Potatoes have many common pests and diseases with tomatoes both being in the same family of plants. Of course this would require some "huevos" by the Americans in these negotiations. I thought we have free trade with Mexico, we all now see it is selective free trade usually at the behest of the American farmer.

dhinds    
Guadalajara  |  January, 03, 2013 at 09:03 PM

An unthinkable option for anyone not from Florida.

dhinds    
Guadalajara  |  January, 03, 2013 at 09:16 PM

Neither the September nor the November Policies reflect the position of the Mexico's current Federal Government, which took office in December, so it's too soon to tell what the new Administration's stance will be be. Mexico's new Secretary of Agriculture was Governor of the Border State of Coahuila, which could favor increased flexibility. Additionally, the current POTUMS (President of the United Mexican States) is more Statesman-like and less combative than his predecessor. In view of the above, I predict a favorable solution to BOTH Ag Trade problems for all concerned (except perhaps for Florida). -)

Paul    
Idaho  |  January, 07, 2013 at 06:03 PM

Agree, let´s close the border to all.

Peter    
USA  |  January, 07, 2013 at 06:44 PM

We care of our soil, I don´t want Mexican soil or Mexican seed on my farm, so I understand that Mexicans, they don´t want our contaminated soil too. So best way is close the border for this kind of products. I understand that potato is the main business of Salazar Family in Colorado, that´s why Government is pushing, have the whole support of them. Actually we already export a lot of tons of processed potatoes. Let´s keep it clean, or at least as we already are.

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