Aug 18, 2020Senators urge for more pressure on Mexico in potatoes-for-avocados dispute
A trio of U.S. Senators issued a letter Aug. 18 to the USDA and U.S. Trade Representative to urge for increased pressure on Mexico for more access to U.S. potato producers.
Currently, U.S. fresh potatoes can only be sold within 26 kilometers of U.S.-Mexico border. That contradicts a 2014 Mexican government decision to allow fresh U.S. potatoes to be sold throughout Mexico, which was later overturned by a Mexican court. The litigation regarding the ruling remains ongoing and is currently in the Mexican Supreme Court.
U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) and James Risch (R-Idaho) wrote a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer urging them to consider all methods available to resolve the dispute.
“We encourage you to consider the use of all available mechanisms, including the new dispute resolution authority under the USMCA, to ensure Mexico honors its agreement to allow U.S. potatoes to reach Mexican consumers,” the letter states (Mexico Dispute Resolution Potatoes Senate Perdue).
The “agreement” referenced in the letter refers to an avocados-for-potatoes tradeoff that the U.S. and Mexico agreed upon more than a decade ago. The U.S. is the top importer of Mexican avocados at a value of more than $2 billion in recent years.
“If we pursue dispute resolution and win, it will authorize retaliatory tariffs on Mexican agricultural products,” said National Potato Council CEO Kam Quarles. “Some in our industry have already suggested that Mexican avocados should be the major commodity targeted for retaliation.
“Mexican avocados have been huge beneficiaries in the avocados-for-potatoes agreement, as the U.S. honored its side of the deal while Mexico did not.”