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Potato industry applauds China's steps on trade pact

U.S. potato industry representatives say steps China just took to follow through on the recent phase one trade agreement mark a historic breakthrough likely to bring substantial benefits, Capital Press reports.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Feb. 25 announced that China had signed a protocol allowing importation of U.S. fresh chipping potatoes, among other actions related to ag products. It is part of the U.S.-China Phase One Economic and Trade Agreement.

The protocol includes chipping potatoes from Washington, Oregon and Idaho, the National Potato Council said.

“The U.S. welcomes this important announcement that will allow U.S. fresh potatoes to be exported to China for the first time,” NPC Vice President of Trade Affairs Jared Balcom said in a news release.

“Today’s announcement is 20 years in the making and will allow Chinese consumers for the first time to enjoy potato chips sourced from high-quality U.S. fresh potatoes. We look forward to developing and expanding this vital market.”

Idaho and Washington are the largest and second-largest U.S. potato producers, respectively, and account for more than half of U.S. production.

Oregon consistently ranks in the top 10 and, like Washington, exports most of its crop. About 20% of the U.S. crop is exported.

NPC said China is a Top 10 export market for U.S. potatoes, primarily in processed products, and could become a Top 5 market soon with a combination of competitive tariffs and enhanced market access.

Read the full report in Capital Press here

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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