Maine lawmakers call for opening up potato industry to China
BANGOR, Maine (AP) — All four members of Maine's Congressional delegation are joining a group of lawmakers that wants President Donald Trump's administration to prioritize the U.S. potato industry in trade talks with China.
Potatoes are a major economic driver in rural Maine. Republican Sen. Susan Collins, independent Sen. Angus King and Democratic Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden are among 39 members of Congress who say spuds need a place at the table in the talks.
The lawmakers cite the U.S. potato industry's $3.7 billion farm gate value. They say China could become a top market for American potatoes if granted access to the country's fresh potato market.
Maine Potato Board executive director Don Flannery says it's critical for the state's growers that "China and other export markets are available" to U.S. potatoes.