International Trade

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.

On December 24, 2013, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published the rule called “Focused Mitigation Strategies to Protect Food Against Intentional Adulteration,” which will require domestic and foreign food registered facilities to assess their operations to address hazards that may be intentionally introduced by acts of terrorism. This means that these food facilities would be required to have a written food defense plan.

 

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