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United States and Canada Announce an Arrangement concerning trade in potatoes

 

 

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab announced the conclusion of an arrangement to facilitate bilateral trade in potatoes between the United States and Canada.  

“Based on this year’s first 8 months, U.S. goods trade with Canada could rise by $17 billion to a level of $550 billion in 2007.  Such trade expansion supports the creation of more productive, better paying jobs in both countries.  This arrangement will facilitate more efficient trade in potatoes between our countries,” said Ambassador Schwab.  “I would like to thank Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner and his staff at the Agricultural Marketing Service for their hard work and dedication in the successful negotiation of this arrangement.”

Canada is the United States largest export market for agriculture, including potatoes.  In 2006, the United States exported $92.8 million in potatoes to Canada, representing 68.73 percent of all U.S. potato exports.  Since 2004, U.S. potato exports to Canada have increased by 38.13 percent.

The United States and Canada will begin implementation of this arrangement on November 1, 2007, in order for U.S. producers to benefit during this year’s growing season.

Background:

The Technical Arrangement Concerning Trade in Potatoes facilitates trade between the United States and Canada by providing U.S. potato producers with predictable access to Canadian Ministerial exemptions to import potatoes.  Ministerial exemptions for potatoes are generally granted by the Government of Canada only when there is a proven shortage of potatoes in Canada.  The Arrangement, when fully implemented in Year 3, will allow a 60-day forward contract between U.S. growers and Canadian processors to serve as sufficient evidence of a shortage in Canadian potatoes.  In addition to addressing U.S. concerns about Canada’s procedures for granting Ministerial exemptions for potatoes, the Arrangement will phase in quality inspections for potatoes at destination and will phase out spot-check inspections along the northeastern Canadian border crossing.  The United States will initiate a rulemaking to allow some Canadian specialty potatoes that do not currently meet current US quality standards for size to enter the U.S. market.  This Arrangement protects the right of each Party to establish requirements and to conduct inspections at the border for health and safety reasons and does not affect the rights or obligations of either country under NAFTA and WTO Agreements.

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