Cantwell urges U.S. to negotiate open access to Mexican market for Washington-grown spuds

By:  by John Gillie, The News Tribune
Source: The News Tribune

Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell is mounting a campaign to allow American potatoes to be sold throughout Mexico after the Mexican government failed to carry out its 2003 pledge to open up that entire country to American spuds.

Cantwell, in a letter this week to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, urged the U.S. to negotiate full access to the Mexican market for U.S. potatoes.

“Mexico represents a very important market for the farmers on my home state of Washington,” Cantwell told the agriculture secretary.  “During these tough economic times, it is especially important to work to expand the number of markets available for American agricultural products.”

Mexico opened up a 16-mile-wide strip along the U.S.-Mexican border in 2003 to U.S. fresh potato imports, but failed to implement a phased expansion of that area to the entire country.

American agricultural officials are also working to get China to drop its restrictions on U.S. potato imports.  Opening up Mexico to U.S. potato imports could mean an additional $75 million in business to U.S. potato growers. 

Washington is the second-largest potato-producing state.  Only Idaho grows more spuds.

Read more here: http://blog.thenewstribune.com/business/2010/12/08/cantwell-urges-u-s-to-negotiate-open-access-to-mexican-market-for-washington-grown-spuds/#storylink=cpy