Canada Trade Pact Fails to Mollify
Selinger, Marc, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
U.S. officials announced an agreement yesterday they hope will calm a feud with Canada over agricultural trade, but American farmers called the pact inadequate and vowed to protest by blocking imports at the border tomorrow.
U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky and Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman called the agreement an important first step in resolving a long-standing problem with Canada. Canada has agreed to remove regulatory barriers that impede sales of U.S. wheat, pigs and cattle.
The United States also said it will begin requiring Canadian wheat importers to disclose pricing information to find out whether they are illegally dumping grain in the United States at below-market prices. Talks will continue on other concerns, including Canadian barriers to U.S. potatoes.
"While we clearly have more to do," the measures we have achieved today will help solve many of the problems faced by grain growers, the cattle industry and pork producers," Mrs. Barshefsky said.
But Louis Kuster, a wheat grower in Stanley, N.D., said the agreement does not address his complaints, especially a flood of Canadian wheat into the United States.
"It's just a bunch of lip service," Mr. Kuster said. "They didn't accomplish one single thing."
Mr. Kuster said farmers in North Dakota, Minnesota, Montana and perhaps Idaho will go ahead with threats they made Thursday to block Canadian trucks attempting to cross the border tomorrow.
U.S. officials said the agreement will, among other things, make it easier for American farmers to ship grain through Canada by rail and will end a wheat disease test that farmers considered unnecessary. The pact will also let farmers sell pigs in Canada without a 30-day quarantine. It also calls on Canada to overhaul its import rules for animal health.
The United States agreed in return to address a number of technical concerns raised by Canada. …