March 09, 2005

Congressional Delegation Goes To Bat For Idaho Wheat Farmers

Encourages U.S. International Trade Commission to support U.S. producers

Washington, DC â?? In testimony submitted today to the U.S. International Trade Commission, Idaho Senators Larry Craig and Mike Crapo and Idaho Representatives Mike Simpson and C.L. â??Butchâ?? Otter spoke out strongly in favor of countervailing duties regarding certain wheat imports from Canada. The Trade Commission held a hearing today on the final phase countervailing duty and antidumping investigations for Durum and Hard Red Spring wheat from Canada.In the statement submitted today, the delegation members outlined their concerns. â??Idahoâ??s wheat farmers produce one the of most consistent wheat crops in the world, both in quantity and quality. In 2002, Idahoâ??s wheat crop was valued at $340 million. Our growers are leaders in the industry.â??Wheat farming is not a 9 to 5 job; it is a way of life for our constituents. And this way of life is being threatened by the Canadian Wheat Board. Every bushel of Canadian hard red spring that enters the United States directly displaces a like bushel produced by American wheat growers. Imports of Canadian hard red spring wheat have taken up an average 21 percent of domestic food use of this particular wheat class. Market penetration of this magnitude lowers U.S. farm gate prices and weakens the economy of states such as Idaho. Madam Chair and Members of the Commission, we cannot let this sort of injury go unchallenged.â??The statement also highlighted how the consistent price suppression actions by the Canadian Wheat Board have negated normal market swings for wheat producers. â??We believe that all competitors in the international trade arena must be bound by the same rules. Idahoâ??s wheat farmers are not â??protectionist.â?? They are not looking for permanent trade barriers against foreign grain coming into our home market. All they are seeking is a chance to compete on fair and equal terms. With the enforcement of U.S. trade laws, the Commission will be providing them that opportunity.â??On October 2, 2003, the U.S. International Trade Commission will vote on whether the imports of certain durum wheat and hard red spring wheat are injuring the domestic wheat injury. The ITC's final determination will be released on October 14, 2003. If the International Trade Commission determines that our domestic wheat industry is being injured by these imports, then the Commerce Department is expected to issue appropriate duties in late October.# # #