Three Republican senators are calling on Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to use “all available mechanisms,” including U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement provisions, to ensure market access for U.S. potatoes in Mexico, according to a report published by World Trade Online.
While the Mexican government in 2014 allowed some U.S. potatoes to be sold throughout the country, the decision has since been mired in litigation, which is awaiting a ruling by the Mexican Supreme Court, the authors of the report say.
“Although U.S. potato producers can ship processed, dried, and frozen potatoes to Mexico, their access to the fresh potato market has been severely restricted and exports are only permitted within an approximately sixteen-mile zone south of the U.S.-Mexico border,” Sens. Mike Crapo (ID), Cory Gardner (CO) and Mike Risch (ID) wrote in an Aug. 18 letter.
“We encourage you to consider the use of all available mechanisms, including the new dispute resolution authority under the USMCA, to ensure Mexico honors its agreement to allow U.S. potatoes to reach Mexican consumers,” they said.
The World Trade Online report points out that the U.S. and Mexico agreed in 2003 to open up their markets to avocadoes and potatoes, respectively. But a lack of market access as agreed to then is hurting U.S. potato producers, the senators argued. They urged the administration to “advocate for increased access for United States fresh potato exports to Mexico during the course of any trade negotiations with the Mexican government.”