US letter raises alarm over deteriorating trade relationship with Mexico

Twenty-seven US food and agriculture associations have raised the alarm over what they claim is a rapidly deteriorating trade relationship with Mexico, as relating to food and agri product exports.

Not all US states are affected equally. As Mexico is the second largest destination for farm product exports from Idaho, that’s a significant issue for the farming and ranching industry from that state. The US Census Bureau data has shown that Idaho’s agri industry exported $200 million worth of farm products to Mexico in 2020.

This means that Mexico’s ban on the importation of US fresh potatoes throughout most of the country is of particular interest to Idaho’s agri industry. Mexico currently allows fresh potatoes from the United States to be imported only within a 16-mile area along the border.

The US potato industry has been pushing Mexico to allow US fresh potatoes throughout the entire nation for more than two decades. The issue is now before the Mexican Supreme Court. A justice of that court released a draft ruling Feb. 17 that would overturn a lower court ruling preventing the Mexican federal government from implementing regulations to allow fresh US potatoes to be imported throughout the country.

The case was scheduled to be decided by the five-member court on Feb. 24 but the vote has been postponed indefinitely.

Idaho Potato Commission CEO Frank Muir said getting Mexico to allow fresh potatoes from the US into the entire country has been one of the highest priorities for the US and Idaho potato industries for a long time.

The US and Mexican governments in 2002 announced both sides would resolve two long-standing market access issue – the US agreed to expand market access for Mexican avocados and Mexico agreed to open the entire country to US fresh potatoes. The US now imports about $2 billion worth of Mexican avocados each year while Mexico remains mostly closed to fresh potatoes from the United States.

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