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U.S. takes CWB challenge to another level

REGINA, Sask. -- The U.S. has upped the ante with the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB), filing a complaint about the boar...

REGINA, Sask. — The U.S. has upped the ante with the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB), filing a complaint about the board’s trade practices with the World Trade Organization (WTO).

It’s the tenth time the U.S. has complained about the CWB’s “unfair and monopolistic trade practices” however it’s the first time they’ve brought it to the WTO. The U.S. insists the CWB violates global trading rules and undercuts the price of U.S. wheat.

The CWB continues to hold the line it is doing nothing wrong, and is confident it will once again fend off the challenge.

“It’s political and protectionist,” Larry Hill, chairman of the CWB’s director’s trade committee tells local media. “There would be no grounds at all to the complaint.”

Public Works Minister, Ralph Goodale, is also confident the CWB has nothing to worry about.

“We have always been able to successfully defend ourselves in the past, and we will once again,” says the minister responsible for the wheat board.

But U.S. officials say the board provides unfair subsidies to its farmers by subsidizing the shipping of wheat by rail. That, despite the fact the subsidies don’t apply to grain movements to the U.S.

“We don’t take WTO cases lightly,” a U.S. trade official was quotes a saying yesterday. “Under WTO rules, when a country establishes a state enterprise like the CWB, it must ensure the monopoly does not use its special advantages to distort markets and harm its competitors in other countries.”

It’s estimated the cost of fighting the challenge will be $8 to $10 million.

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