February 25, 2020

China approves US fresh potatoes for chipping

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced Feb. 25 that China has taken numerous actions to begin implementing its agriculture-related commitments under the landmark U.S.-China Phase One Economic and Trade Agreement on schedule. The agreement entered into force on Feb. 14, 2020.

These actions include:

In addition, China has begun announcing tariff exclusions for imports of U.S. agricultural products subject to its retaliatory tariffs (Tariff Exclusion Process Announcement), and it announced a reduction in retaliatory tariff rates on certain U.S. agricultural goods (Tariff Rate Adjustment Announcement). These types of actions will facilitate China’s progress toward meeting its Phase One purchase commitments.

National Potato Council reaction

Specifically for the U.S. potato industry, the actions include signing a historic protocol that allows the importation of U.S. fresh chipping potatoes from the states of Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

“The U.S. potato industry welcomes this important announcement that will allow U.S. fresh potatoes to be exported to China for the first time,” said National Potato Council Vice President of Trade Affairs Jared Balcom. “We’d like to thank the dedicated officials from USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and the U.S. Trade Representative’s office (USTR) for their efforts to provide U.S. potato industry this opportunity. Numerous late night calls between USDA and their Chinese counterparts have occurred since the announcement of the China Phase One Trade Agreement in January to allow the Chinese market to open.

“Today’s announcement is 20 years in the making and will allow Chinese consumers for the first time to enjoy potato chips sourced from high-quality U.S. fresh potatoes. We look forward to developing and expanding this vital market.”

China is currently a top-10 export market for U.S. potatoes, primarily in processed products. With a combination of competitive tariffs and enhanced market access, China could become a top-five market in the near future.