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Tai calls for opening of US potato exports to Mexico

The White House trade representative, Katherine Tai, called for openness to exports of potatoes from the United States to Mexico.

Until the beginning of this year, Mexico prohibited the shipment of fresh US potatoes beyond a 26-kilometer zone along the US-Mexico border.

But Mexico would have to allow potato imports from the United States, after a ruling issued by the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) last April.

The SCJN unanimously ruled in favor of allowing the government to lift barriers to importing potatoes into the United States after nearly 20 years of negotiations.

However, US producers have told their government that Mexico still maintains barriers to potato exports to the Mexican market.

“Ambassador Tai began by highlighting the importance of the bilateral agricultural trade relationship between the two countries. Ambassador Tai emphasized the importance of Mexico immediately resuming the authorization of biotech products and asked about the status of the expansion of access to fresh US potatoes throughout Mexico,”said the White House Trade Representation (USTR), in a statement.

Potato exports

In late October 2018, the Supreme Court of Mexico agreed to hear the appeal of the June 2018 ruling. The United States, in consultation with the US potato industry, continues to seek a solution that leads to greater market access for American potatoes to all of Mexico. The remaining legal challenges are ongoing.

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.

The Mexican Association of the Potato Industry (CONPAPA) challenged the 2014 potato 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.

CONPAPA also requested and obtained from the Mexican courts three new precautionary measures against these decrees.


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