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Millers praise NAFTA panel wheat decision

Millers praise NAFTA panel wheat decision

   American millers voiced approval of a North American Free Trade Agreement panel decision Monday that affirmed the U.S. International Trade Commission’s ruling that imports of Canadian hard red spring wheat do not injure U.S. growers.

   A five-person NAFTA panel unanimously affirmed the ITC ruling.

   According to the North American Millers’ Association (NAMA), in the last 10 years U.S. wheat acreage has declined by more than 18 million acres, making access to the entire North American wheat crop critical to U.S. millers, food manufacturers and consumers. The main use for hard red spring wheat flour is for bread, and its production is centered in North Dakota.

   As a result of the NAFTA panel affirmation, tariffs of about 11 percent on imports of Canadian hard red spring wheat will be removed.

   “We will continue, as we always have, to look first to domestic suppliers for our spring wheat and durum requirements,” said John Miller, president of Miller Milling Co., and chairman of NAMA’s ad hoc committee involved in the case. “But we must not be prevented from securing alternative supplies from other sources when conditions require.”

   NAMA has 48 member companies operating 170 wheat, corn, oat and rye mills throughout the United States and Canada.

   For more details about the U.S.-Canadian wheat dispute, read the December American Shipper, pages 56-57.

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