Fresh Potatoes to Be Included in US-China Trade Deal
The USDA and China will sign and implement a phytosanitary protocol which will allow American fresh potato imports into China for processing, according to the text of the recent agreement which was signed and that is being described as “phase one” of a larger negotiation focusing on tensions in the US-China trade relationships.
The signing ceremony is said to have been a commitment to open the market come February 24. However, the potato industry understands that this is not a done deal at this point.
Matt Lantz, vice president of Global Access at Bryant Christie – a company that offers assistance on market access and foreign government affairs -, who was cited by the the Washington Ag Network, said that now, market access protocol must be created.
“Now that we see this language in here, we anticipate that we will have a Chinese response to that and then we will have to go through that response and make sure that the market access agreement is viable for shipping. We need to make sure that what’s being asked of our growers and shippers is viable and commercially possible. And so we anticipate that there will a final round of negotiations in the coming two-three weeks,” explained Lantz.
The provision is specific to chipping potatoes grown in the Northwest.
Commenting on the event, Potatoes USA chief marketing officer John Toaspern said once established, access could expand across the US.
“We’ll still be able to benefit from this in the perspective that more chipping potatoes form the Northwest will be going across the water and there’ll be further demand for their potatoes within the United States. That’s what always happens in these situations – we see a movement of potatoes out of the US and then other areas are able to backfill in and meet the demand within the US,” Toaspern concluded.
A final round of negotiations in the coming two to three weeks is anticipated.
So far, China has been primarily buying frozen French fries and dehydrated products from the United States.