WTO Rejects U.S. Appeal On CWB

The World Trade Organization's (WTO) top trade court on Monday rejected a U.S. appeal of an earlier ruling that cleared the export policies of the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB), sources told Reuters News Service.

The WTO's Appellate Body upheld a panel ruling made last April that the CWB’s exclusive right to buy and sell western Canadian grain for export, and its right to set the initial price, did not break world trade rules.

In the earlier verdict, the WTO judges also backed a U.S. challenge to parts of Canada's grain-import policy. Neither side appealed that part of the decision.

The North Dakota Wheat Commission, which spearheaded the trade action against Canada, vowed to continue pushing for international rule changes to revise the wheat board's marketing practices.

"Obviously we're frustrated that the appellate body upheld the original decision on this. But at the same time we're not willing to give up the fight," said Jim Peterson, marketing director for the Bismarck, ND-based wheat organization.

The commission also will press for timely implementation of changes in Canada's grain-handling and shipping policies required by the original WTO panel ruling, he said.

Under that ruling Ottawa must change rules that prohibit the mixing of eastern and western grain for export sales and modify its rail revenue cap. A spokesman for the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office said the U.S. will continue pushing for the elimination of the wheat board's monopoly powers and other reforms in the world trade talks.

Editors note: Richard Brock, The Corn and Soybean Digest's Marketing Editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.

To see more market perspectives, visit Brock's Web site at www.brockreport.com.