Tester seeks fix to unfair Canadian trade practices targeting Montana farmers

Senator urges U.S. Trade Representative to resolve wheat grading dispute

(U.S. Senate) – Senator Jon Tester wants the U.S. Trade Representative to act on an issue that affects too many Montana farmers: unfair trade practices that downgrade the value of Montana wheat.

Under current Canadian law, American wheat is automatically downgraded to the lowest quality designation when it crosses the border. The U.S., however, provides a fair examination of wheat imported from Canada.

Tester is now urging U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman to work with the Canadian government to resolve the differences.

“This is about fairness. Montana producers grow the best wheat in the world and it doesn’t make sense that its value drops when it crosses the border,” Tester said. “We’ve got to ensure that farmers are getting a fair shake and a fair price for their top-notch grain.”

“Farmers on both sides of the border are looking for open markets and a fair playing field,” said Lyle Benjamin, Montana Grain Growers Association Secretary and Sunburst grain producer. “The Montana Grain Growers Association appreciates Senator Tester’s leadership in addressing this inequitable market situation for Montana producers.”

Tester met with Montana farmers about this issue in August on a tour of Montana’s northern border with Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.

The Senator raised his concerns with the Canadian Minister of Agriculture in December, and yesterday Tester urged President Obama to bring this issue up with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when he visits the United States in March.

Tester’s letter to U.S. Trade Representative Froman is available online HERE.