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End of trade ban? Prince Edward Island potatoes could soon head to Puerto Rico, U.S.

The federal agriculture minister in Canada says she’s optimistic that shipments of Prince Edward Island potatoes will start to head to Puerto Rico within two weeks, and to the mainland U.S. shortly after that, ending a ban in place since November.

As Shane Ross reports for CBC News, Marie-Claude Bibeau and P.E.I. MP Lawrence MacAulay were in Washington on Thursday meeting with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Bibeau said Vilsack agreed to ask the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to conduct a risk analysis of P.E.I. potatoes to Puerto Rico within two weeks, and for the mainland in the weeks after that.

She added: “I’m hopeful that we can see the market of Puerto Rico for table stock potatoes reopening within one, maybe two, weeks. He also gave directions to do it as fast as possible for the mainland. …We had a very important discussion, obviously on potato wart, and on a path forward to reopen the market to table stock potatoes, starting with Puerto Rico in very short notice.”

Bibeau said all the scientific evidence from the CFIA — showing rigorous controls that will prevent wart from spreading — has been passed on to APHIS. “As soon as APHIS gives us the green light, I can assure you that CFIA will start issuing export permits,” she said.

Source: CBC News. Read the full story and watch videos here
Photo: Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and P.E.I. MP Lawrence MacAulay answer questions after a Thursday meeting with officials in Washington about the ban on potato exports to the U.S. Photos courtesy CBC

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