The new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is expected to be a big help to US potato farmers. President Trump signed the bill a few weeks ago.
National Potato Council president Kam Quarles says the USMCA still has a hurdle to clear, though.
“Canada still needs to act to ratify, and we anticipate they will do that. And then the agreement will be implemented. And then as we look forward to the trading relationship, the big one for us is getting the long awaited access to Mexico for fresh potatoes that’s been tied up for many, many years.
If we can get that right, in addition to the 300 million that’s currently going to Mexico, we’re looking at an additional potentially 25 percent on top of that every single year in U.S. potato exports,” Quarles says. That would just be a huge market. So we’re gonna focus pretty intensely on that.
Looking forward, Quarles says the opportunities are really big if it can be taken advantage of. Obviously, the devil’s in the details, he points out.
“You can’t just have a market access agreement. You’ve got to have a durable market access agreement that allows you to efficiently export to those countries and and allows their buyers to rely on this new supply of US fresh potatoes that hopefully will be coming to them. We’re excited that we got to this place. It took a lot of work. But when Congress and the administration can overwhelmingly agree on something, that’s a pretty good day.”
The National Potato Council says the USMCA should result in hundreds of millions of dollars in potential growth for the U.S. potato industry.