Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack Announces US Access to Mexican Market for Potato Producers
Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack traveled to Mexico this week for meetings on market access and biotechnology.
US fresh potato producers will have new access to the entire Mexican market starting May 15th. Secretary Tom Vilsack says both countries are in the final steps of approval.
“There’s a site visit that will take place before that by Mexican officials to California. After that, there will be no more requests for additional site visits. We’ll see some expediting of registrations for entities that will qualify as importers for both potatoes and processing potatoes.”
The agreement will end a decades-long dispute over potato access and Vilsack says the next step is building demand.
“As you collaborate, you essentially look at marketing opportunities, you look at joint activities that can impress upon consuming public at the importance of having potatoes as part of their diet and utilizing them in a variety of different ways. So, I’m hopeful that we see the same kind of cooperative effort, and I’m hopeful that we see the same kind of result where consumption increases which create demand that not just by domestic producers but also creates the export market into the future.”
Secretary Vilsack also met with Mexican President Andres Lopez Obrador about access for biotech crops.
“I wanted to make sure that he understood that there are many different crops that are impacted affected by this science that can be of help to Mexico, to Mexican consumers, to Mexican agriculture…we can work collaboratively with the Mexicans and Mexican Dept. Of Agriculture and other agencies of the Mexican Government to try too many of the biotechnology traits that are currently awaiting approval to try to get into the process.”
He acknowledged that it wouldn’t be easy, but was hopeful he had made a strong impression.
“I think we have to follow up aggressively. After this meeting, you can create momentum in meetings like this, you need to take advantage of it, you need to continue to act on it. And you need to test it to see whether or not an impression. So that’s what we’re going to do.”
He says they also discussed the need for immigration reform to ensure a steady workforce.
Ag trade between the United States and Mexico reached a record $63 billion in 2021, which Vilsack says is supported by the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement.