On Thursday, December 9, NPC’s CEO Kam Quarles and COO Mike Wenkel hosted a delegation from Prince Edward Island, led by PEI Premier Dennis King, for a conversation about the steps that will need to be put in place to safely and efficiently restore trade with this important province.
“We understand the impact that Canada’s recent domestic and international potato wart restrictions are having on PEI growers. In regard to the U.S. restrictions, we discussed our desire to resume trade as rapidly as possible once APHIS is satisfied with the necessary steps that CFIA is currently undertaking,” said Kam Quarles, NPC CEO.
NPC released a press release stating that “NPC reiterated that this is a plant health issue, not a trade dispute, and we strongly support the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) commitment to protect the U.S. potato industry from this devastating disease. We understand that APHIS is requiring that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) provide comprehensive data indicating where the disease resides in PEI production areas. Based on that information, CFIA and APHIS can agree on clearly defined quarantine zones, additional mitigation efforts, and comprehensive monitoring measures. We further understand that all of these requirements need to be in place to enable trade to resume safely.”
Following the delegation visit, it was reported in the Canadian media that Premier King stated, “It’s time to get rid of this silly BS and let’s get to work and get this open.” That statement drew a response from the Canadian government who “’rebuked the premier.’ Islanders would be better served with more respectful and productive behaviour going forward.”
It was reported that Canadian Agriculture Minister Bibeau said “all lobbying efforts are important, but she believes the issue will ultimately be resolved by scientists at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in talks with scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”
The full NPC statement can be found here.