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More work ahead on wheat dumping complaint

By Dave Thompson

Bismarck, ND – The attorney who represents the North Dakota Wheat Commission in its trade case against Canada says while the U-S trade representative did not immediately impose short-term sanctions on the Canadian Wheat Board, that's still a strong possibility.

Charles Hunnicutt says the Trade Representative and Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman are inherently "free traders" -- and have problems with those kinds of short-term tariffs or quotas. However, he says the ruling still leaves that possibility wide open, and there's a good chance that tariffs or quotas may be imposed.

"That is a very fair and effective method for getting some short-term relief. That's fair to the millers, fair to the Canadians, fair to the farmers. So I think they should be pursuing that in the negotiations."

The Bush Administration is suggesting the dispute go to the World Trade Organization. Hunnicutt says that avenue will be pursued, too -- but not at the expense of the short-term sanctions.

"Regardless of how they try to spin the news, they know we won. And they know this is ultimately marching towards som action that will require them to discuss reform. That should encourage them to come to the table. But I have to say -- having dealt with the Wheat Board for several years now, the level of their arrogance can never be underestimated."

Hunnicutt says the best thing to happen would be a reform of the Canadian Wheat Board. He says that could lead to farmers on both sides of the border getting fairer prices for their wheat.