News Release - May 4, 1999
SASKATCHEWAN RESPONDS TO U.S. RULING NOT TO IMPOSE A DUTY ON CANADIAN CATTLE IMPORTS
Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Berny Wiens,
Agriculture and Food Minister Eric Upshall and Justice Minister John
Nilson today responded to a U.S. preliminary decision not to impose a
countervailing duty against imports of Canadian cattle by resolving to
continue to defend against this unfair trade action.
The decision not to impose a duty was announced today by the United
States Department of Commerce in the subsidies/countervail case
initiated by the Ranchers-Cattlemen's Action Legal Fund (R-CALF), a
U.S. group of cattle producers. R-CALF members claim that the import
of unfairly subsidized Canadian cattle is depressing American prices.
In addition to defending against this action brought under U.S. law,
Saskatchewan continues to work with the federal government in its
proceedings at the World Trade Organization. These proceedings
question whether the U.S. had sufficient grounds to initiate this
action in response to allegations by a small organization such as
"Saskatchewan has known all along that we have not been unfairly
subsidising our cattle producers," Wiens said. "As the proceedings
progress, we will continue to defend against this action by the United
States government against our cattle producers."
Upshall said, "American and Canadian cattle producers have much
in common and the differences this action fosters will benefit no
one. We realise that this preliminary ruling is not the end of
the process and that a final decision is yet to come. We are
however encouraged that the Department of Commerce will continue
to agree with us that the R-CALF claims have no merit. In the
meantime our concern remains the potential effect these kinds of
actions could have on Saskatchewan cattle producers."
Nilson said, "We continue to retain U.S. legal counsel to assist
in defending our position in Washington. We have instructed them
to vigorously defend this action and to take all available steps
to show the U.S. that the R-CALF action should be dismissed. We
will continue to work with Canada and other provinces to defend
against this action."
Saskatchewan is also working with U.S. border states to improve
trade relationships. Wiens recently led a delegation of
officials to Montana to discuss a range of issues of mutual
concern. Wiens will be travelling to North Dakota this week with
the same objectives.
This preliminary decision is an early step in a longer legal
process which is investigating whether Canadian cattle are being
exported with unfair subsidies and also whether they are being
dumped in the U.S. market. Final decisions in both the
countervail and dumping cases are not expected to be made until
Canadian cattle exports currently amount to less than 5 per cent
of the total U.S. market for cattle.
For more information, contact:
Phone: (306) 787-2171
Agriculture and Food
Phone: (306) 787-5961