After more than two decades of negotiations, U.S. potato growers thought they’d come to an agreement after the Mexican Supreme Court ruled last year that the Mexican market should reopen to U.S. potatoes.
But, National Potato Council CEO, Kam Quarles says that Christmas season agreement they were celebrating, fell apart quickly. “Almost within a couple of weeks of that agreement being signed, Mexico started backpedaling on what they had agreed to. And, that’s where we are today is, unfortunately, no closer to reopening that market.”
And that, Quarles says is a huge financial hit. “Again, it’s $150-million every single year that Mexico delays providing the access that U.S. growers rightfully should have. So, this is big money for the growers. It’s big money for all the communities those grower’s support. And, you know, I think it’s a priority for the Biden Administration to get something done here.”
But the rules, Quarles says just seem to keep changing. “By asking for something that’s not in the agreement, Mexico further delays. They don’t need to find something to keep us out of the market. What they need to do is keep moving the goalposts so that we never actually get back in the market.”
Quarles says they’re feeling like Charlie Brown when Lucy keeps pulling the football away. He says negotiators may have to play tough with Mexican imports into the U.S. before this ends.