This week California Senator Dianne Feinstein sent a letter to the U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk urging him to continue efforts “to harmonize agricultural trade standards with the Government of Mexico. The senator said the “Mexican market is of the utmost importance to California agriculture, and the removal of unscientific barriers to trade will be a great boon for the industry.”
She outlined several areas of concern where she said “Mexico has in place a number of barriers that unfairly limit our exports” of potatoes, apples and stone fruit. She articulated that despite an agreement signed in 2003 which should have granted U.S. fresh potato exports access to Mexico’s seven border states by 2004 and a path for full market access the following year, potatoes still are only allowed within 26 kilometers of the border. “This limited access costs the industry an estimated $100 million per year in lost exports,” she wrote.
With regard to apples and stone fruit, she said Mexico’s requirement for “in-country inspection” of imports is an unnecessary expense and redundant of inspections performed by U.S. inspectors.
For more information, contact WG’s Ken Gilliland, director of international trade.
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