For the first time, the Canadian wheat Board's export marketing practices in third country markets will be subjected to a thorough investigation by U.S. officials who have a strong background in export marketing and trade, thanks to a decision announced today by the U.S. Trade Representative. The USTR announced that they will initiate an investigation into Canada's monopoly state trading enterprise, at the specific request of the North Dakota wheat Commission.
U.S. wheat Associates (USW), the National Association of wheat Growers (NAWG) and the wheat Export Trade Education Committee (WETEC) thanked U.S. Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky for her decision, and offered congratulations to the North Dakota wheat Commission for their strong arguments in filing the petition for a formal USTR investigation into the CWB's pricing and selling tactics.
"Ambassador Barshefsky has a well deserved reputation for being a gutsy trade official," said Alan Tracy, president of USW. "Once again she has stood her ground, this time against tremendous pressures as the Canadians did everything they could to derail the NDWC petition. Bravo, Madame Ambassador."
USW and WETEC Chairman Bruce Hamnes, a wheat producer from Minnesota, had high praise for the North Dakota wheat Commission. "Dakota is the Sioux Indian word for 'friend,'" Hamnes pointed out. "Through this action, the wheat farmers in North Dakota have proven their true value as friends to wheat producers across the U.S. We are grateful for their determined leadership in seeking this Section 301."
NAWG President Terry Detrick, an Oklahoma wheat producer, had high praise for the NDWC whose petition lead to today's action. "Once again our friends in North Dakota have provided the leadership to move our entire industry forward. Today's announcement by USTR moves us closer to resolving another important issue affecting U.S. wheat exports."
U.S. wheat Associates, with other state and national wheat organizations, have pointed out price distortions caused by single desk exporters. Their recommendations for the next WTO trade round include phasing out the monopoly market control of the state trading exporters, along with eliminating export subsidies. USW is optimistic that a thorough and professional investigation, performed by people who can go the extra mile to document CWB's anticompetitive activities, will provide vital information for the upcoming WTO negotiations.
"USW experts, who are developing wheat markets around the world, are in constant contact with the world's wheat buyers," Hamnes said. "They know what the Canadians are doing. But USW is not Interpol. The next level of investigation will now come from the U.S. government."
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