Sep 16, 2019Idaho congressional leaders, NPC urge fresh potato access to Japan
Efforts to make fresh potatoes a part of the ongoing trade talks between the U.S. and Japan are intensifying.
Bipartisan Congressional letters and calls were sent to the Trump administration asking for that country to be opened to U.S. fresh potato exports. Members of the House and Senate from both sides of the aisle were unified in urging U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Trade Representative to make this a goal of the negotiations.
“The FTA negotiations provide tremendous leverage for the administration to act on this 26-year-old market access request,” said Kam Quarles, National Potato Council CEO. “If they get it right, Japan could be a $75-100 million market annually in just a few short years.”
The entire Idaho Congressional delegation sent a letter to Secretary Perdue — including Sens. Mike Crapo and James E. Risch and Reps. Mike Simpson and Russ Fulcher — in support of opening the Japanese market. “For more than 20 years, APHIS and the U.S. potato industry have attempted to engage Japan in meaningful discussion to achieve market access for fresh table stock potatoes. Unfortunately, Japan has not reciprocated any of our efforts to pursue discussions on this matter. … We strongly urge you to pursue full market access for U.S. fresh table stock potatoes to Japan as USDA is working to conclude the U.S.-Japan FTA.”
Calls from the Oregon, Maine and Washington delegations also went out. Congressman Dan Newhouse (R-WA) sent a letter to Secretary Perdue stating “There is no valid phytosanitary justification for the market to remain closed. The U.S. potato industry has a proud history of exporting fresh potatoes to many countries in the Pacific Rim, including South Korea, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Malaysia and Taiwan.”