US: Progress made on Mexican potato access

Potatoes are harvested Aug. 23 in Eastern Idaho. New rules could allow fresh spuds from the U.S., now limited to within 16 miles of the border, greater access to the Mexican market.Potatoes USA officials say an “important and very positive step” has been taken in the industry’s 15-year effort to gain access to all of Mexico for fresh U.S. potato shipments. Precisely how significant the development will prove to be remains to be seen. U.S. potato exports to Mexico have been allowed only within 16 miles of the U.S. border, except for a brief period in 2014 when the market was opened. Mexican courts granted an injunction against fresh U.S. potato shipments shortly after full access was granted, based on Mexican growers’ claims that some phytosanitary issues had not been properly addressed. The restriction was reinstated and has remained in place ever since. On Jan. 13, Mexico’s agriculture department, called SAGARPA, published a pest risk assessment for U.S. potatoes and a sheet offering requirements for shipping fresh U.S. potatoes beyond the 16-mile zone. More