According to a report by Capital Press, industry leaders in the US say they hope to open new doors for exporting fresh potatoes to China. “We believe we’re maybe in the final stages of trying to open up the Chinese fresh market,” said Bill Brewer, president and CEO of the Oregon Potato Commission.
A deal with China last summer would have allowed the country to buy more U.S. agricultural products, said John Keeling, CEO of the National Potato Council. That deal was scrapped when President Donald Trump added more tariffs to Chinese products.
The administration is negotiating with the Chinese to put the deal back together by March 1, Keeling said. Keeling didn’t estimate a likelihood of the deal, but said it presents “an incredible opportunity” for potatoes.
“We’ve been working on this for 20 years,” said Chris Voigt, executive director of the Washington Potato Commission. “We’re the number one ag priority in the U.S. Trade Representative’s office … so we’ve got a good shot at getting in there, we hope.”
If an agreement is completed, Brewer said, it would likely go into effect for the 2020 crop year.