U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman has initiated WTO discussions with Canada regarding its preliminary injury finding by the Canadian International Trade Tribunal. This ruling last November led to provisional antidumping and countervailing duties on U.S. corn exports to Canada beginning on Dec. 15, 2005.

In a March 17, 2006 letter to the WTO requesting the consultations, the USTR outlines how the CITT’s preliminary findings are inconsistent with Canada’s obligations under WTO rules.

The U.S. Corn Coalition – which includes the American Farm Bureau Federation, Corn Refiners Association, National Corn Growers Association and U.S. Grains Council – maintains that U.S. imports aren’t the cause of Canadian corn grower’s adverse economic circumstances. The coalition points out that that Canadian feed prices declined in 2004/05 – a time when U.S. corn imports to Canada decreased by more than 40 percent, but an estimated 8 million metric tons of additional Canadian feed barley and wheat were put on that market. 

The coalition stated in a letter to Portman “If the CITT issues a final economic injury ruling on April 18, these duties will substantially increase the cost of unprocessed U.S. corn exports to Canada. Such a finding could cause Canadian industries that currently rely on U.S. corn imports to shift to other cheaper grains, or source corn from U.S. competitors.”

The Canadian Border Services Agency recently upheld the provisional duty of $1.65 per bushel on U.S. corn. The decision came in response to allegations that U.S. dumping and subsidizing of grain corn harms Canadian producers. According to the CBSA, it will continue to impose the duty on U.S. corn imports until the CITT concludes its inquiry regarding injury to Canadian corn producers. The tribunal’s public hearings began March 20, with a decision expected by April 18.

U.S. Grains Counsel