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Hickenlooper, Colleagues Urge Biden to Support U.S. Potato Industry, Advocate to Open Japanese Market to U.S. Potatoes

Apr 12, 2024

Domestic potato growers face significant obstacles in gaining access to Japanese markets

Bipartisan Senate leaders sent a letter to Biden on day of Japanese PM Kishida address to Congress

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper and nine of his Senate colleagues called on President Biden to support the U.S. Potato Industry and advocate for fair access to Japanese markets during his meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

“We believe the Prime Minister of Japan’s visit to the United States poses an opportunity to address this longstanding issue and make progress in finally allowing U.S. grown fresh potatoes to be exported to Japan,” the senators wrote. “U.S. producers continue to face significant obstacles in gaining access to the market in Japan. We strongly urge you to raise this issue with Prime Minister Kishida during his visit to the United States.”

Colorado’s potato farmers grow more two billion pounds of potatoes every year – contributing more than $270 million to our state’s economy in 2023. Around 20% of U.S.-grown potatoes are exported, contributing nearly $4.8 billion to the domestic economy, and supporting nearly 34,000 jobs. Industry leaders estimate that opening the Japanese market would result in an additional $150 million per year in exports.

Hickenlooper has a long history of supporting the U.S. potato industry. Last month, Hickenlooper joined a bipartisan group of thirteen senators in urging the Biden administration to oppose the possible reclassification of potatoes as a grain, instead of a vegetable. In May 2023, Hickenlooper joined a group of bicameral colleagues in asking Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack to help potato growers get approval to sell fresh potatoes to customers in Japan.

Full text of the letter is available HERE.


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