Apr 5, 2022Vilsack: US potato industry to have full access to Mexico by May 15
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Mexico Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development Victor Villalobos met this week to continue cooperation on shared priorities including open trade, science-based policy making, and sustainable and climate-smart agricultural production.
Following their meetings, Vilsack and Villalobos announced that the U.S. and Mexico have concluded all necessary plant health protocols and agreed to a final visit by Mexican officials in April that finalizes expanded access to the entire Mexican market no later than May 15 for all U.S. table stock and chipping potatoes according to the agreed workplan.
During their engagement, the Secretaries reaffirmed their shared commitment to:
- Promoting food security by facilitating trade, inclusive rural development and enabling sustainable productivity growth;
- Continuing to support rural development by expanding market opportunities for Agricultural producers and their products;
- Helping small producers and new farmers, particularly with respect to developing local and regional markets
- Tackling climate change by giving farmers access to tools and technologies that enable them to increase production while minimizing their environmental impacts; and
- Enhancing plant and animal health cooperation to meet emerging threats and to promote food security.
Two-way trade in food and agricultural products between the United States and Mexico reached a record $63 billion in 2021 and the relationship between the North American neighbors has been further enhanced by the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
The U.S. National Potato Council welcomed the news of the May 15 date for full access to all of the Mexican market. The group did so with caution, however, by issuing the following statement:
“The National Potato Council appreciates today’s positive announcement and thanks Secretary Vilsack and the teams at USDA and USTR for their efforts to ensure that Mexico lives up to its bilateral trade obligations. Given the history of this 25-year trade dispute, we are waiting to declare victory until we see durable exports of both fresh processing and table stock potatoes throughout all of Mexico as required by the November 2021 signed agreement. We hope the April site visit by Mexican officials will be the last hurdle we need to clear and that no last-minute roadblocks will be erected prior to Mexico finally — and permanently — reopening its border to U.S.-grown potatoes.”
Mexico is the largest export market for U.S. potatoes and products valued at $394 million in 2021. Despite the restriction to the 26-kilometer border region Mexico is the second-largest market for fresh potato exports accounting for 124,449 metric tons valued at $60 million in 2021. The U.S. potato industry estimates that access to the entire country for fresh U.S. potatoes will provide a market potential of $250 million per year, in five years.