Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall applauded the joint U.S.-Mexican announcement that will open the door to access for Colorado potatoes beyond the currently limited 26 kilometer border zone.
The announcement is part of a pending agreement to include Mexico in Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations and will a put a science-based rulemaking process into place regarding the expanded trade of fresh potatoes. The decision to accept Mexico's application was made jointly by the nine countries currently negotiating the agreement: the United States, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
"This agreement is a victory for Colorado's potato producers and many of our state's rural economies," Bennet said. "It will begin a process to ensure that Colorado potato producers have vital access to all of Mexico, a key trading partner. We will continue to work with farmers, ranchers and agricultural leaders in our state as the process unfolds and to help resolve any other disputes that hinder our exports and close off our products from new opportunities and markets abroad."
"Mexico is one of Colorado's and the United States' most important trade partners," Udall said. "I am pleased that Mexico has taken a strong step forward to ensuring that American potato farmers have fair access to sell fresh potatoes throughout Mexico. This decision is welcome news for Colorado's potato growers who count on market access to drive their businesses."
In May, Bennet and Udall joined a bipartisan group of Senators in urging the Obama Administration to work with Mexican authorities to expand U.S. fresh potato access throughout Mexico. In the letter sent to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, the Senators urged the Administration to resolve outstanding issues with Mexico that restrict market access. Mexico's inclusion in TPP negotiations will create a path to expanding trade in fresh potatoes and other commodities.
Throughout their time in Congress, Bennet and Udall also worked together to push for an agreement to end a 17-year-old trade dispute between the United States and Mexico that was adversely affecting agricultural producers in Colorado through high retaliatory tariffs. The U.S. And Mexico reached an agreement on the tariffs last year.