Following Congress' move to stop funding for the Department of Transportation's Cross Border Trucking Pilot Program, Mexico retaliated by reinstating pre-North American Free Trade Agreement tariffs.
Amstad Produce also ships some spuds to Taiwan and Canada, Amstad said.
Washington and Oregon are old hands at the fresh spud export deal, said Dave Long, chief executive officer of the Othello, Wash.-based United Co-op of Oregon & Washington.
“Washington and Oregon, as far as fresh, probably do more than any other states,” he said. “The Pacific Rim and southeastern Asia have been excellent markets.”
Still, Long said, the recession has not been limited to the shores of the U.S. — a fact that is being felt in export sales of Oregon and Washington potatoes.
“We’ve seen a dip there (in Asia) too,” he said. “Their economies aren’t any better than ours.”
Looking ahead, Long has high hopes for the day when the 16-mile export zone in Mexico is widened to take in the entire country.
“It’s going to happen,” he said. “It’s just a matter of when. Mexico is the No. 2 customer of Northwest apples, and I think it could be the same for potatoes.”
For Harvest Fresh Produce Inc., Othello, Wash., the focus of the company’s export program of the present lies north of the border, while a significant part of the future could lie to the south, said Allen Floyd, president.
“We do a lot in Canada now, and Mexico is a real promising market down the road,” he said.
China and Russia are among the other markets Harvest Fresh has explored on a more limited basis. And in the future, there could be others as well, Floyd said.
“We’re always looking at other markets,” he said.
Singapore, Hong Kong and Canada are among the top export markets for Potandon Produce LLC, Idaho Falls, Idaho, said Larry Sieg, general manager of the company’s Pasco, Wash., office.
Particularly with the worldwide economic convulsions of late, the volume of exports and the destinations haven’t changed much in recent years, Sieg said.
“It hasn’t really varied in the last four or five years,” he said.
Potandon exports very few Washington potatoes to Mexico, Sieg said.