North America, Trade/Markets/Prices

Opinion: ‘Prince Edward Island potatoes in the eye of an unfair trade war with U.S.’

“There is nothing a sovereign government loves better than a pretext for good old trade protectionism,” writes Greg Donald, general manager of the PEI Potato Board in a Toronto Star opinion piece. “And that’s what is happening in Washington, D.C. The Biden administration has blocked potatoes from Prince Edward Island, citing the threat of a crop pest. The ban threatens to ruin P. E. I’s most famous industry.”

“Maddeningly, the pretext is nonsense, unsupported by science. Unfortunately, it was originally provided to the Americans by our own federal government,” Donald writes.

“For reasons that are still incomprehensible, Ottawa on Nov. 21 issued a ministerial order that began with this: ‘It is hereby declared that the province of Prince Edward Island … is a place infested with potato wart.’

“Reflect on that: Our own government literally labelled an entire Canadian province ‘infested.’ More damaging language would be hard to dream up. Then, fearing a U.S. ban on all Canadian potatoes, Ottawa pre-emptively offered to suspend shipments of P.E.I.’s crop.

“The Canadian government has since acknowledged it was wrong, that P.E.I.’s potato crop is safe, and that there is no sign the crop pest has spread beyond a tiny amount of potatoes in the two regulated fields where it was discovered last year.”

Source: Toronto Star. Read the full story here
Photo: Bags of Prince Edward Island potatoes are unloaded from a transport truck on Dec. 8, in Ottawa. Credit and courtesy Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press via Toronto Star

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