Lawmakers ask to open fresh potato markets in Japan

A bipartisan and bicameral group of lawmakers want U.S. fresh potato market access in Japan.

Head of the National Potato Council Kam Quarles tells Brownfield the Japanese market represents tremendous growth for growers.

“You’re talking about $150 million to $200 million a year market in additional US fresh potato exports,” he says.

Quarles says Japan is currently supplied mostly by domestic producers with limited U.S. supplies for chipping.

“Sometimes you’ll have potato chip prices spike $10-15 dollars a bag, and it’s simply because of shortages because they don’t have the production in the country,” he shares.

In a letter to U.S. Secretary Vilsack, lawmakers say fresh potato negotiations with Japan have been going on for three decades and resolutions need to be made ahead of bilateral talks this fall.

Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow along with 31 other members of Congress have signed on to the letter.

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