Potatoes to Japan Pt 1

Potatoes to Japan Pt 1

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
From the Ag Information Network, I’m Bob Larson. A bipartisan letter from over 30 members of Congress was sent to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack asking for help getting U.S. fresh table stock potatoes into Japan.

National Potato Council President Kam Quarles says talks with Japan, a potential $150 million per year export market, have been going nowhere …

QUARLES … “USDA has been engaged in a negotiation with the Japanese for a number of years now. Those negotiations, USDA put them at the top of their list about four years ago and, really, the Japanese have just stalemated any discussion since that time.”

The letter, Quarles says shows concerns from both sides of the aisle …

QUARLES … “Secretary Vilsack was raising this issue with the Japanese when he was in Tokyo a couple of weeks ago. Clearly, you’ve got this bipartisan letter that came both from the House and the Senate that is seeking to put pressure on the Japanese to get back to the table and start discussing this market access.”

Quarles says this appears to be a threat to Japanese growers …

QUARLES … “They have a small but very politically connected domestic potato industry. Obviously, those folks are not excited about having high-quality, U.S. potatoes in their market.”

Tune in tomorrow for more on this effort to get fresh U.S. potato access to Japan.

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