Senators Want More Access to Japan for U.S. Potatoes

During a recent visit to our nation’s capital by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, a bipartisan group of senators wanted to see the Biden Administration apply pressure to get fresh U.S. potatoes into Japan.

National Potato Council CEO Kam Quarles says the potato industry was watching.

“In conjunction with that visit, you had a group of ten senators led by Senator Cantwell in Washington and Senator Risch from Idaho, write a letter to President Biden urging him to jump-start the technical discussions over U.S. market access to Japan for fresh potatoes.”

Quarles says it’s been requested of Japan for at least 30 years.

“But it really got ramped up in the last five years on the U.S. side, but the Japanese government has not moved forward one bit in those five years.”

And the senators, Quarles says, felt this was a good opportunity to turn up the pressure.

“I think the senators are trying to provide some assistance to the administration, political assistance to push past a lot of domestic protectionism within Japan and finally get the process moving.”

So, can we put our foot down and say enough?

“Yeah, certainly Japan has things that they’re looking for either in the agriculture space or in other industries that they want to trade with the United States. At some point, the administration has gotta say, look, we’re not going to move forward on those priorities unless you address what U.S. farmers care about.”