The ongoing trade tiff between the U.S. and Mexico gained momentum in August.
In a retaliatory move linked to the U.S. government’s refusal to continue a pilot program permitting Mexican trucks to travel into the U.S., Mexico increased to 99 the number of U.S.-produced items on which it placed tariffs ranging up to 25%.
Potatoes are on the long list, but the export hurdle will not result in a glut of table potatoes this fall on the domestic market, said grower-shippers and handlers in Colorado’s San Luis Valley.
The reason: the tariff applies only to frozen potatoes exported to Mexico, they said. That is good news for Mexican consumers and for Colorado grower-shippers.
“We’re probably the biggest exporter of fresh potatoes out of Colorado to Mexico,” said Lee Jackson, operations manager of Farm Fresh Direct LLC, Monte Vista, Colo.
“The tariff won’t affect us.”
While Farm Fresh is among the largest U.S. exporters to Mexico, it has company.
“The San Luis Valley is the largest exporter of fresh potatoes to Mexico,” said Jim Ehrlich, executive director of the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee, Monte Vista.
Other San Luis Valley grower-shippers and handlers exporting fresh potatoes to Mexico include Monte Vista-based Harvest Select LLC, Hi-Land Potato Co. and Worley & McCullough Inc. and Skyline Potato Co., Center, Colo.
Some handlers, such as Apex Produce Co., Center, do not sell direct to Mexico, said Mark Bisel, co-owner and sales manager. The company does, however, sell to distributors who export the potatoes to Mexico, he said.