The ban on importation of US potatoes into Mexico as explained in article published in the Spanish ag press

The decision by a judge in Mexico a few days ago to prohibit the importation of potatoes from the US received intense attention in ag circles in both countries, and beyond. A news story about this issue was published on the Spanish ag news website ARGENPAPA (based in Argentina). The article is entitled “México: ¿Por qué Sagarpa prohibió la importación de papa?” – it was published online by ARGENPAPA yesterday, August 5. I publish a machine-translated (Google) version of this article below for the convenience of non-Spanish speaking readers of Potato News Today who might have an interest to read it. (Footnote: Sagarpa is the name for the Mexican department of agriculture). 

Mexico: Why did Sagarpa ban the importation of potatoes?

A federal judge today ordered the Mexican government to ban fresh potatoes from the United States because the health regulations are lax to prevent the spread of 63 plagues in the Mexican countryside, the Federal Judicial Council (CJF) reported.

The Seventh District Judge in the state of Sinaloa, José Francisco Pérez Mier, ruled that two articles of the Regulation of the Federal Plant Protection Law reformed by the government in July 2016 are unconstitutional, which include phytosanitary measures for the importation of potatoes For consumption and processing.

He stressed that the measures are lax, lacking scientific and inadequate, and that the import of American potato represents a latent risk to biodiversity because of the potential spread of 63 quarantine pests.

With his ruling, Pérez Mier gave the reason for producers in the state of Sinaloa (northwest), who promoted a collective amparo lawsuit against the regulation, considering that it puts at risk their potato, chili, tomato, onion, eggplant and corn crops 

The same judge ordered the Ministry of Agriculture in June last year to prohibit the entry of the US tuberculosis, arguing that the Agreement on Risk Mitigation for Import, in force since 2014, also did not guarantee pest avoidance.

Perez Mier said in his new ruling that the authorities have failed to comply with his previous ruling and accused them of not deliberately incorporating specific phytosanitary barriers to mitigate the risk of each of the 63 plagues, 24 of which are viruses, five phytoplasmas, Three bacteria, seven fungi, nine nematodes and 15 insects.

“The federal judge reiterates that the aforementioned regulation is a copy of the repealed agreement, that the measures it establishes will only lead to failure and that the responsible authorities will not comply with the constitutional obligation to ensure the integrity of the homeland,” he said in his resolution.

Since the producers pushed the warranty proceedings, imports of fresh potatoes from the United States have been suspended, according to local press reports.

The Ministry of Agriculture of Mexico has the possibility of challenging Judge Pérez Mier’s decision before a collegiate tribunal.