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Mexico Access for Washington Potato Growers
by Lacy Gray, click here for bio
Program: Washington Ag Today
Date: June 28, 12
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Earlier this month 15 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to U.S. Trade Ambassador Ron Kirk, urging him to pressure Mexico to allow fair access for U.S. fresh potatoes. Despite an agreement to work towards eliminating such a restriction, Mexico continues to prohibit the shipment of U.S. potatoes to the interior of the country. Currently, potatoes can only be sold within 16 miles of the US/Mexico border. Washington potato grower Bart Connors talks about what eliminating the Mexico restriction on U.S. fresh potato imports could mean for producers.
CONNORS: I think opening up the country maybe in stages, here or however they get this done, will be really positive for the growers. It will really open up some of the markets, and some of the really larger cities that we haven’t been able to target - Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterey.
It’s estimated lifting the Mexico restriction could open up a possible $150 million market for U.S. potato growers.
CONNORS: Having an additional market area to target and be able to ship our product to is really positive. It’s close, (Mexico), they’re big consumers of potatoes anyway. I think it would really benefit Mexican consumers as well. Being able to get high quality product at fair prices is something that I think they’re all interested in as well. Obviously, being a Washington grower I think the quality and the product that we put out as fresh potato growers and shippers is pretty impressive, and we like to be able to get that product to as many people as we can.
Washington is the second largest producer of potatoes in the U.S. and was responsible last year for one-fifth of all exports to Mexico.
I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Northwest Ag Information Network.
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