USDA Proposes to Ease Import Requirements for Potatoes
The Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service is accepting through Dec. 5 comments on a proposed rule that would allow up to 2,000 pounds of all other round type potatoes (except red skinned, round type or long type potatoes, which would continue to remain at a 500 pound limit) to be imported without regard to the import regulations. This change would be required under section 8e of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 because of a proposed revision to the minimum quantity exception for potatoes handled under the Colorado potato marketing order, Area No. 2, that would increase from 1,000 pounds to 2,000 pounds the quantity of potatoes that may be handled under this order without regard to its handling regulation requirements.
AMS anticipates that the proposed change will have a beneficial impact. Currently, the distribution of potatoes between 1,000 and 2,000 pounds requires an inspection and certification that the product conforms to the grade, size and maturity requirements of the order. This translates into a cost for handlers and importers of both time and inspection fees, which is high in relation to the small value (approximately $225 per pallet) of these transactions. The proposed rule would allow shipments up to 2,000 pounds of potatoes without regard to the order’s grade, size, maturity and inspection requirements and the related costs.