Vietnam has opened its door to fresh-market potato shipments from the U.S.

On May 19, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and its Vietnamese counterpart announced an agreement that permits fresh imports, said Alyn Kiel, an APHIS spokeswoman.

The agreement went into effect immediately, but as of June 28 APHIS had no records of any shipments, Kiel said. It is the first time fresh U.S. spuds have been allowed in to the country, she said.

A 20% tariff is placed on fresh-market potato imports to Vietnam.

Vietnam’s large population — about 73 million — promises significant growth opportunities for U.S. exporters, said Matt Harris, trade director for the Moses Lake-based Washington State Potato Commission.

Coincidentally, Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire is attending a trade mission to Vietnam in September, Harris said. Harris will be a part of that delegation and will gauge interest in Washington spuds.