Aug 12, 2019
U.S. potatoes to Europe: NPC requests leveling of playing field

The National Potato Council (NPC) wants to piggyback on an Office of the U.S. Trade Representative action to level the trade playing field between the U.S. and European Union regarding large civil aircraft.

In an Aug. 2 letter to U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer, NPC CEO Kam Quarles asked that U.S. fresh and frozen potatoes be added to the USTR’s request to the World Trade Organization that the U.S.’s Section 301 rights be enforced in regard to large aircraft trade with the EU.

Quarles cited “decades-long protectionism by the EU through tariffs and unscientific regulatory barriers” to stymie the market for U.S. potatoes in Europe. Meanwhile, EU potatoes exported to the U.S. have increased dramatically in recent years.

“In 2010, the EU exported to the U.S. approximately $3.4 million in potato products under these tariff lines. In 2018, that number had increased to $55 million annually, comprising 1,500% growth in less than a decade,” Quarles wrote.

That trend has continued in 2019 thus far, as EU exports to the U.S. have risen 55% in value during the first five months of the year, Quarles noted. The NPC has requested that tariffs in the range of 25% on frozen and 15% on fresh be implemented on EU potatoes.

“We believe that the USTR’s proposed action, through temporary, sends the right message to Europe that reforms must be undertaken immediately,” Quarles said.

The full letter can be found here.

Top Export Markets for U.S. potato products in 2018

  1. Japan — $348 million
  2. Canada — $305 million
  3. Mexico — $256 million
  4. South Korea — $111 million
  5. Philippines — $97 million
  6. China — $96 million
  7. Taiwan — $78 million
  8. Malaysia — $59 million
  9. Hong Kong — $41 million
  10. Singapore — $40 million

(Source: Department of Commerce, Foreign Trade Division)

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