WINNIPEG, Man. — Manitoba’s Agriculture and Food Minister, Rosann Wowchuk, is appealing to the feds to once again help fend off an attack from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC).
For the tenth time, the ITC will go after the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB), accusing it of subsidizing wheat exports to the U.S. and seek tariffs. On each of the previous nine occasions, the ITC’s accusations were found to be without merit.
“This represents the tenth U.S. trade investigation against the CWB since 1990, despite the fact the CWB was found to be a fair trader in each of the previous nine challenges,” says Wowchuk. “This decision means the CWB, and therefore Prairie farmers, will continue to be unduly pressured by U.S. trade investigations.”
Even if the CWB successfully fends off yet another U.S. attack, there’s still the possibility of interim tariffs while the investigation takes place next spring.
“Manitoba has over 9,000 wheat producers who produce 15 per cent of Canada’s wheat, and any imposition of interim tariffs would be detrimental to our producers and the provincial economy,” says Wowchuk. “This is why it is so important that we vigorously oppose any trade action through all available mechanisms including NAFTA and the WTO.”
Grain haulers would also be impacted by trade action against the CWB. The action is taking place despite the fact Canada eliminated transportation subsidies some time ago. Canadian grain is marketed in the U.S. because it’s a consistently high-quality product that is efficiently marketed and transported, the CWB says.
“Like the U.S. Farm bill passed earlier this year, this trade action appears to be based more on political considerations than international trade law,” says Wowchuk. “As past investigations have concluded, the CWB is a fair trader and only guilty of ensuring producers obtain a premium price for their grain.”
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