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Johnson: USDA Action Pending?

By T. McDonald

Bismarck, ND – State Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson says he's been holding back comment on the recent ruling from U-S Trade Representative regarding the operations of the Canadian Wheat Board, in hopes of seeing some for of action. Under the ruling the Trade Representative's office verified the arguments from the Wheat Commission, that the Canadian Wheat Board was engaged in practices harmful to the U-S grain industry. Johnson says officials from the U-S-D-A have assured him details could be made on what actions will be taken. He says it bothers him that trade issues with the steel industry have been resolved, and the issue with Canadian Wheat lingers on. But, Johnson adds, there's bigger politics involved with the steel trade issue?
"The decision that the Bush Administration made on steel was because there are a whole lot of Congressional seats at stake in the steel belt, and I think that is what drove that decision more than anything else. I suspect that their political analysis of this wheat action was that it is probably not going to change that many Congressional races. And if that's the case, that's a sad commentary on how these decisions get made."
Johnson says being both industries are supposed to be protected by the same trade agreement, why should it apply to one and not the other.