Group asks USDA to consider economic harm of imports
In a letter sent this week to USDA Undersecretary for Trade Ted McKinney, NPC cautioned that the growing international stocks of fresh and processed potatoes could trigger “irrational surges in imports of these products as foreign interests search for scarce customers.”
The letter states, “As we push toward reopening the economy, it is extremely likely that these surges will become even more intense. For example, prior to the food service shutdown, exports of European fries to the U.S. in the first two months of the year went from $9 million in 2019 to $20 million in 2020. We anticipate this will resume with more intensity once food service begins to restart.”
NPC asks that USDA considers the potential economic harm due to volatile increases in imports and reviews the potential remedies available to counter this threat. “Left unchecked, these irrational import surges can prolong the impact of an economic and health crisis that has already cost a great deal for rural America,” the letter reads.
Just this week, the European Union announced that they would raise tariffs on various agricultural commodities in an effort to protect markets in response to building domestic oversupplies. Belgium also urged their citizens to eat more fries as their markets deal with a glut of processed products. Additionally, it was announced this week that Canada is cancelling its existing “Ministerial Exemptions” that allow U.S. potatoes to be imported into the various provinces in an effort to protect its oversupplied domestic market.
The full letter can be found here.