Members of Congress Urge USDA’s Support in Opening Japan to U.S. Fresh Potatoes

Industry priority would result in an additional $150 million per year in exports

On May 11, 2023, a bipartisan letter signed by 35 members of the House and Senate was sent to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack urging his assistance on opening the Japanese market for U.S. fresh potatoes. This U.S. potato industry priority would result in an additional $150 million per year in exports.

“We thank this large, bipartisan group of members from the Senate and House for their strong support. The political opposition we are seeing in Japan must be countered by the Administration and Congress. Clearly, this letter indicates that we have that support and will need it in the future to unlock the value of Japan’s market,” said Ted Tschirky, NPC VP of Trade Affairs.

Noting that table stock access to Japan was first requested almost 30 years ago, the Members argued that there is no valid phytosanitary justification for the market to remain closed or for Japan’s government’s refusal to negotiate on opening the market. “Japan continues to delay substantive negotiations on table stock access, including with respect to our most recent request for Japan to provide a Pest Risk Assessment (PRA),” the Members wrote.

“The U.S. potato industry has a proud history of exporting fresh potatoes to many markets in the Indo-Pacific, including South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand. These exports occur safely and routinely throughout the year, providing benefits for the consumers in those countries and our growers here in the United States. We strongly urge you to elevate this issue with your counterparts in Japan with the goal of receiving a PRA before the upcoming bilateral negotiation this Fall 2023. We believe that a resolution is only possible with strong political support in the United States,” the group concluded.

The full letter can be found here.