The announcement that Mexico will open the door to U.S. potatoes is a big victory for producers and consumers in both countries.

Potato industry leaders have invested more than a decade of work to expand the reach of U.S. potato exports in Mexico beyond the 16-mile border zone that was first OK’d in a treaty in 2003. Mexican officials also said then that all five Mexican border states would be clear to import U.S. potatoes by the second year of the agreement; the third year of the deal was supposed to give U.S. potatoes access to any part of Mexico.

That was not the case, of course, and trade has been restricted only to the 16-mile border zone since.

Thankfully, the recent joint announcement by the U.S. Potato Board and the National Potato Council brings apparent certainty of the long-sought expansion in U.S. potato export opportunities.

The agreement that will allow U.S. exporters to ship their potatoes to Mexico will also give Mexican potato suppliers the chance to ship to the U.S.

Potato industry leaders report that USDA will identify the particular shipping and labeling requirements for U.S. potatoes being shipped to Mexico over the next few weeks, and that shipments between the two countries should begin before June.

While the 16-page Mexican regulation will no doubt impose some rules and requirements on U.S. potato exporters, the opening of the 100-million-strong Mexican consumer market is great news for all potato growers and a positive development in trade relations between the U.S. and Mexico.

"Did The Packer get it right? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion."