Mexico Overturns U.S. Fresh Potato Import Ban

Grocery store potatoes
Photo: Pixabay

The Mexican Supreme Court has made an unanimous vote to overturn a previous court decision which banned Mexico from importing fresh potatoes from the United States, the National Potato Council (NPC) says in a news release on April 28.

“This ruling is consistent with Mexico’s obligations under the USMCA and the WTO. It represents a major step forward in the U.S. potato industry’s efforts to provide consumers throughout Mexico access to fresh, healthy U.S.-grown potatoes,” Jared Balcom, vice-president of trade affairs for the NPC and a potato grower from Pasco, Wash., says in the release.

“We are hopeful that with this ruling the authorities will quickly reimplement the market access agreement and allow for high quality U.S. potatoes to be enjoyed throughout Mexico,” Jaren Raybould, chair of Potatoes USA and a potato grower in Saint Anthony, Idaho, says in the release.

Mexico first allowed for U.S. fresh potato imports in 2003, however it restricted imports to a 26 km area along the U.S./Mexico border violating Mexico’s trade obligations, the release says. The Mexican government allowed full access in 2014, but then the National Confederation of Potato Growers of Mexico (CONPAPA) sued claiming Mexican regulators had no authority to determine if agricultural imports can enter the country. The April 28 Supreme Court ruling rejected CONPAPA’s argument.

Mexico is the third largest export market for U.S. potatoes and products. Despite the restriction to the 26 km border region Mexico is the second largest market for fresh potato exports at US$60 million in 2020, the release notes. The U.S. potato industry estimates access to the entire country for fresh U.S. potatoes will provide a market potential of US$200 million per year, in five years.

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