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First Phase of Pre-Clearance Completed for Canadian Seed Potato Export to Mexico

The first phase of a pre-clearance program that will allow Canadian seed potatoes to be exported to Mexico has now been successfully completed, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Government of Canada officials negotiated a seed potato workplan in July that will allow full Canadian access to the Mexican seed potato market for the 2004-05 potato shipping season. This includes seed potatoes from New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, which have been banned from Mexico since December 2000 due to concerns with a potato virus known as PVY(N).

"We are very pleased with the results of the field inspections," said Mr. Savoy. "Assuming that the other requirements of the pre-clearance program will be met, this opens the door for shipments of seed potatoes to Mexico to start later this fall."

The workplan includes stringent pre-clearance activities that will be jointly delivered by Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Mexican inspectors. These activities include field inspection of every seed potato field destined for Mexico; verification of potato tuber sampling quality assurance procedures; testing of representative samples in Mexico prior to the certification of commercial shipments; and audit procedures at the point of shipping.

Under the initial phase of this pre-clearance program, three inspectors from Mexico came to Canada to conduct field inspections. One of the Mexican inspectors inspected potato fields in PEI, New Brunswick and Québec, while the other two worked in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

The pre-clearance program is expected to prevent interceptions of pests considered to be of quarantine significance by Mexico and contribute to the stability of trade for exporters accessing the Mexican seed potato market.

The cost of the pre-clearance measures will be borne by Canadian seed potato growers who ship to Mexico. The CFIA held broadly-based consultations with Canadian seed potato growers and exporters, and provincial governments, to ensure that there was widespread industry acceptance for the workplan.

Originally posted Monday, Oct. 18, 2004

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