Potato Growers See Mixed Foreign Trade Outlook Ahead

International trade experts within the potato industry are happy with the Phase One Trade agreement between the U.S. and China. However, they’re also concerned with the level of potatoes coming into the U.S. from the other direction, noting that French Fry imports from the European Union are rising rapidly. An Intermountain Farm and Ranch article says the export market for U.S. potatoes continues to grow. While COVID-19 has resulted in a reduction of exports, there are still good things ahead in the international markets. For example, the new agreement with China opens up the Asian nation to chipping potatoes from the Pacific Northwest. However, there is some bad news in the international markets. The U.S. is seeing a continued increase in French Fries imported from the EU. Matt Lantz, the vice president of global access at Bryant Christie, says, “There’s been a major surge from the EU, and I say the term very definitely. I do not say dumping. That’s a legal term that’s very hard to prove.” In 2015, the EU sent $12 million worth of fries to the U.S. In 2018, EU exports jumped to $55 million. Last year, the value of those imports was even higher, coming in at $80 million. In the first four months of 2020, the EU has already sent $44 million worth of fries to the U.S.

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