News February 2019

Maine legislators promote potato industry in U.S. trade with China

Maine legislators have joined a bipartisan group, asking that the U.S. potato industry be considered in trade negotiations with China.

Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden signed a letter to the Trump administration, asking that the U.S. potato industry be a priority in discussions about the U.S.-China trade deal. 

The letter notes that the inclusion of potatoes in trade with China would create significant economic growth and result in new jobs. So far, 39 members from the House and Senate have signed the letter. 

“Notwithstanding the diligent efforts of the United States Trade Representative and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), China has not opened their market to fresh potatoes from the United States and has left U.S. potato growers without a clear path forward on how to resolve concerns that are standing in the way of opening this important market.”

The U.S. potato industry has a $3.7 billion farm gate value, but that success relies on finding an international market for one of every five potatoes produced. Opening access to potato trade with China has been a top priority for U.S. potato growers since 2000.

Full report by News Center Maine