NPC cheered last week’s signing of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade pact into law by President Trump. The agreement is expected to stabilize the U.S. potato export markets of Canada and Mexico by both eliminating the threat of retaliatory tariffs and precluding the loss of tariff benefits previously provided by NAFTA.
“The National Potato Council welcomes today’s signing of the USMCA trade agreement – one of the most significant trade pacts in decades – and thanks President Trump for his support of the U.S.-Japan Agreement on Agricultural Trade and the U.S.-China Phase One Agreement earlier this year,” President of the National Potato Council Britt Raybould said in a statement.
For the agreement to enter into force, Canada will need to become the third and final signatory to ratify the pact. Canada is the second largest export market for U.S. potatoes with over $300 million in sales annually, while Mexico is the third largest export market for U.S. potatoes comprising over $250 million in annual sales.
Japan is the U.S. potato industry’s largest export market with exports totaling over $350 million in annual sales. Once fully implemented, the U.S.-Japan Agreement on Agricultural Trade will reduce and eventually remove tariffs on U.S. frozen and flaked potatoes. It is believed that this market can grow by another $150 million annually (42 percent) in the very near future.
China is currently a top 10 export market for potatoes, primarily in processed products. With a combination of competitive tariffs and enhanced market access through the Phase One Agreement, China could become a top five market in the near future.
“Combined, these agreements will expand four of the top 10 export markets for U.S. potatoes and potato products, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in potential growth for the U.S. potato industry. USMCA and the other trade agreements are good news for potato growers, industry members, and communities across the U.S. that are supported by our $3.7 billion industry,” said Jared Balcom, NPC Vice President of Trade Affairs.