b'Industry Sets Sights On Japan For Fresh Market Accessby Kam Quarles, NPC Executive Vice President and CEOThis May, the U.S. potato industrySimilartothesituationwith will celebrate one year of full accessMexico,fullaccesstoJapanhas totheMexicanmarketplaceforbeen requested for almost 30 years. freshU.S.potatoes.WhileminorYet, despite efforts from the United hiccupsarealwaysinevitable,weStatesDepartmentofAgricultures can all cheer a year of mostly suc- Animal and Plant Health Inspection cessful crossings that restored accessService (APHIS), Japan continues to to the entire country of Mexico afterdelay substantive negotiations.more than 25 years of disputes and legal obstructions. In 2006, a thorough risk analysis of U.S.freshpotatoeswasconducted With that market challenge (hope- by Japan when the processing mar-fully)behindus,theU.S.potatoketwasopenedandallJapanese NPCindustryissettingitssightsonatechnicalconcernswereaddressed newmarketforfreshpotatoes:withcomprehensivemitigations Japan.from the U.S. at that time. There is MessagenovalidreasonfortheJapanese Although the U.S. has been able togovernmentsrefusaltonegotiate exportchippingpotatoestoJapanwithUSDAandforthisvaluable since2006(andthatmarkethasmarket to remain closed. grown considerably) we are seeking toenhancethatmarketaccesstoThisstalemateisduetodomestic include all fresh potatoes, includingpoliticalsensitivitiesinJapan. table stock. Once opened, Japan willWithout pressure from both the U.S. become another massive market forAdministrationandCongress, U.S. fresh potato exports, estimatedprogressonthisissueislikelyto at$150millionto$200millionremain stagnant for many years or annually (representing a 10-15 per- even decades to come.centincreaseinglobalU.S.fresh potato exports).Currently,manycountriesinthe Indo-Pacific including South Korea, 8 POTATO GROWER MAY/JUNE 2023'