International Trade

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, representing about 20,000 longshoremen at 29 west coast ports, excluding Canada, are negotiating with the Pacific Maritime Association for a new contract.  The current six year contract expires on June 30, 2014.  Although both sides claim a commitment to negotiate until a deal is reached, concern remains about a strike disrupting shipments.  Should a lockout ensue, as happened in 2002 lasting 10-days, shippers will have to find alternative ports in the Gulf, east coast, or possibly Canada.

Ken Gilliland

Less than a month after the Mexican government opened its entire country to U.S. potato imports, the country did an about face and closed its borders indefinitely to all U.S. fresh potatoes imports.  Borders were closed as a result of complaints received from a group of local growers who cited phytosanitary concerns.  The unexpected action halts the issuance of phytosanitary certificates for potato exports to Mexico.  This has also prevented shipments in transit from entering Mexico and are being held at the border.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is expected to be in Mexico next week to better understand details of these actions.

We will provide further information in Spotlight when it is made available.

On Monday, May 19, 2014, Mexico -- in a long-awaited move -- expanded marketing opportunities for U.S. potatoes.  Prior to this action, U.S. potato exports were limited to Mexican markets that were within 26 kilometers (16 miles) of the U.S. border.  Although this action opens up the Mexican market for U.S. potato growers -- except for potatoes that are destined for processing -- there are specific limitations on the expanded market.

Ken Gilliland

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has announced import fee increases in order to recoup the cost of fee inspections conducted at U.S. ports of entry.  APHIS, which is part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), proposed the rule on April 25, 2014.  The proposal provides a 60-day comment period that will take into consideration all submitted comments.

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International Trade Archive