Potato Growers Working to Expand Exports to Mexico

The U.S. potato industry is working hard to expand their export markets in Mexico and Japan, but it’s not easy.

Matt Lantz, Vice President of Global Access at Bryant Christie, says getting potatoes into Mexico has been a real challenge.

“I would say Mexico is one of the toughest negotiations that the U.S. potato industry has ever had to deal with, and it continues to be something that we treat with great respect. We’ve made tremendous progress in the last two years, but we also really have to respect where it is. We’re very careful about it. We want to make sure we ship clean product down there. And we want to push back if we start feeling that there are illegitimate issues trying to keep us from exporting to Mexico.” 

But, Lantz says Mexico has been listening.

“I want to give Mexico, the Mexican government credit that they have opened the market. And they have worked with us as a partner on this since the market has been open.  Now, we are in a good spot with the Mexicans where we’re collaborating if there are pest issues. We work with them. You know, they’re not threatening to close the market, so I give them credit for that.” 

However, gaining access to Japan is another story.

“I think it is challenging but we like a challenge, especially when we think the challenge is not legitimate. There are times when you have real technical issues you have to overcome. This is not. This is just protectionism, and we need to challenge it. And so we’re doing that now and we look forward to continuing to do that.”