Iowa Public Television


WTO Sides With U.S. Over Canada Wheat Import Restrictions

posted on April 9, 2004

It took the North Dakota Wheat Commission less than 24 hours this week to urge an appeal of a ruling that found the Canadian Wheat Board conducts its business within international trade rules.

That finding by the World Trade Organization surely sticks in the throat of U.S. wheat producers, who for years have charged the Canadians with monopolistic and unfair trade practices.

Indeed, the North Dakota growers called for the appeal despite favorable findings this week from the WTO on a series of other charges against their rivals from the North.


WTO Sides With U.S. Over Canada Wheat Import Restrictions

Canada's grain distribution system discriminates against foreign grain -- so ruled the World Trade Organization this week.

This is a long awaited victory for U.S. farmers who have held protests in North Dakota and Montana as far back as 1994, over the flow of grain across the Canadian border.

On Tuesday of this week, the WTO panel agreed with the United States that Canada's mandatory authorization requirements for foreign grain entering Canadian grain elevators violate WTO national treatment principles... which state a country can't make regulatory demands on foreign grain that it does not make on domestic grain.

The WTO also sided with the U.S. that Canada's rail transportation measure allowed for lower rail rates for grain shipped by the Canadian Wheat Board than for imported grain.

However, the WTO found against the U.S. in regards to the claim the Canadian Wheat Board was engaging in unfair practices by using its monopolistic privileges to the disadvantage of commercial operations.

The Wheat Board is the largest wheat and barley marketer in the world and sells grain to more than 70 countries. All sales revenue, less marketing costs, is returned to the farmers who control the Wheat Board.


Tags: agriculture Canada news trade wheat