Potato Grower

September 2013

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Page 48 of 55

Priority Two: Fresh Potato Market Access For many years the U.S. potato industry has sought fresh potato market access to Japan. With its developed economy and large population, opening the Japanese market would have a huge impact on the U.S. potato industry. Should the Japanese market be opened for all U.S. fresh potatoes, we estimate that exports could reach $50 million annually within five years, and much more than that over time. Unfortunately, despite repeated efforts over the last 20 years, the Japanese government has not seriously engaged in fresh potato market access negotiations with the United States. After years of no progress on the fresh potato request, in 2006, USDA, working with the U.S. potato industry, negotiated the limited opening of the Japanese market for U.S. fresh chipping potatoes that would be immediately processed into potato chips upon arrival in Japan. Although the industry welcomed this development, and this chipping potato market has grown into a $10 million annual market, the industry has always considered chipping potato access a stepping stone to our true goal: opening the Japanese market for all U.S. fresh potatoes. While the U.S. potato industry understands these priorities are challenging, the TPP is a timely vehicle for addressing these important issues, and we look forward to working closely with our U.S. trade negotiators to turn them into reality. PG Keeling is currently the Executive Vice President and CEO of the National Potato Council. Keeling became the head of NPC in January 2002 and directed the Council's move from Denver to Washington, D.C. Prior to joining NPC, Keeling worked for several key agriculture, food processor and farm organizations. Keeling is originally from Texas, where his family continues to have farming interest. In addition, he and his brother operate a small farm in Central Virginia. Keeling received his undergraduate degree in Economics from Washington and Lee University and a master's degree in Agricultural Economics from Virginia Tech. www.potatogrower.com 49

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