April 3rd Trip Follows Recent "Affirmative Finding" by USTR
Regarding Canadian Monopoly That Hurts U.S. Wheat Farmers
WASHINGTON - The Chief Agriculture Negotiator for the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), Ambassador Allen Johnson, will travel to Bismarck, North Dakota to meet on April 3 with the North Dakota Wheat Commission (NDWC) and listen directly to the concerns of wheat farmers regarding the unfair trading practices of the monopolistic Canadian Wheat Board (CWB). Ambassador Johnson's trip follows up on his commitment to go to North Dakota and hear firsthand from North Dakota farmers, and is part of USTR's vigorous efforts to seek relief for U.S. wheat farmers from the CWB.
Responding to an NDWC petition for an investigation of CWB practices, on February 15, 2002, USTR issued an "affirmative finding" that reviewed the results of its investigation, detailed the CWB's monopolistic characteristics, and described the steps USTR intends to take.
"USTR Robert B. Zoellick and I agree with American wheat farmers that Canada's Wheat Board is monopolistic and distorts trade. We will use all effective tools at our disposal to stop the Canadian Wheat Board from hurting our farmers. Working with producers in North Dakota and other states, we are undertaking several strong initiatives to address our problems with the Canadian Wheat Board," said Ambassador Johnson. "I look forward to hearing directly from North Dakota farmers about the situation."
USTR's affirmative finding stated that:
• First, USTR will examine taking a possible dispute settlement case against the Canadian Wheat Board in the World Trade Organization (WTO);
• Second, the Administration will work with the NDWC and the U.S. wheat industry to examine the possibilities of filing U.S. countervailing duty and antidumping petitions with the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. International Trade Commission.
• Third, working with industry, USTR will also identify specific impediments to U.S. wheat entering Canada and present these to the Canadians so as to ensure the possibility of fair, two-way trade.
• Fourth, these short-term actions are complemented with the Administration's ongoing commitment to vigorously pursue comprehensive and meaningful reform of monopoly state trading enterprises in the WTO agriculture negotiations. Those negotiations gained new momentum with the launch in November of the Doha Development Agenda, set to conclude by 2005.
Ambassador Johnson, his staff and an official of USDA have invited the NDWC and key wheat leaders to meet with them as they collect information to assist in the development of negotiating positions related to wheat trade with Canada.