Mexico will allow potato imports from the United States, after a ruling issued by the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN).
The SCJN unanimously ruled in favor of allowing the government to lift barriers to the importation of potatoes into the United States after nearly 20 years of negotiations.
Earlier, the Secretary of Agriculture of the United States, Tom Vilsack, had commented that if the SCJN did not allow access to the market of the United States potato producers, he would urge the head of the Trade Representation (USTR), Katherine Tai, to undertake enforcement actions under the Agreement between Mexico, the United States, and Canada (USMCA).
Mexico prohibits the shipment of fresh US potatoes beyond a 26-kilometer zone along the US-Mexico border.
In 2003, the United States and Mexico signed the Table Stock Potato Access Agreement, which provided a process to allow US potato access to all of Mexico for a period of three years.
However, Mexico has refused to go ahead with the implementation of the Agreement, citing detections of pests in shipments.
In 2011, the North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO) published a report that identified six pests, which Mexico should consider quarantine pests on “potatoes for consumption.”
Both the United States and Mexico accepted the report and the NAPPO recommendations.
Then, on May 19, 2014, Mexico published a new regulation for potato imports.
These new regulations would allow imports of US potatoes to any part of Mexico.
But the Mexican Association of the Potato Industry (CONPAPA) challenged the 2014 import regulations in Mexican courts.
Even so, on July 15, 2016, Mexico issued decrees to reestablish access of fresh U.S. potatoes to areas beyond the 26-kilometer border zone, replacing the 2014 regulations issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fishing and Food of Mexico (SAGARPA), which CONPAPA had blocked with 10 court mandates.
However, CONPAPA also requested and obtained from the Mexican courts three new precautionary measures against these decrees.
In September 2016, SADER’s predecessor agency (SAGARPA) agreed to finalize a revised pest risk assessment, which it published in December 2016.
Later, on August 4, 2017, and again in June 2018, a Mexican court issued another ruling to prohibit imports of US potatoes beyond the 26-kilometer border zone.
At the end of October 2018, the SCJN agreed to hear the appeal of the judgment of June 2018.
In the end, unanimously, the ministers of the First Chamber definitively denied the amparo lawsuit filed by different potato producers in the state of Sinaloa against the Regulations of the Federal Plant Health Law.