Mexican, Canadian Conflict Flares

Published online: Oct 17, 2001
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The seed trade issue between Canada and Mexico keeps miring down rather than improving.

PEI Agriculture Minister Mitch Murphy has told growers the "tread-lightly approach" to the "trade war" between Canada and Mexico "won't work."

Mexico closed its borders to New Brunswick and PEI seed last January though seed potatoes are being accepted from other Canadian provinces (although in much smaller amounts).

Mexico claims to have found PVYntn, which is related to PVYn, in a field next to a Canadian crop. Even though testing showed nothing in Canadian potatoes, Mexico slapped a ban on the two Atlantic provinces.

Mexico claims the PVYntn came from Canada since it had never had the disease.

In the past, about 10 percent of Prince Edward Island's seed crop have gone to Mexico.

Last month Murphy went to Mexico to plead PEI's case but had no success. Federal Ag Minister Lyle Vancliff refuses to take a harder line on Mexico.

Murphy wonders about political influences. The vice president of the very powerful Mexico seed grower's organization, CONPAPA, is a brother to new Mexican President Vincente Fox.

Canadian Minister of Agriculture Vanclief says there will be absolutely no compensation for PEI growers because terrorists attacks have already cost the country $411 million not to mention unknown costs to come.