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Seek damages from U.S. over CWB: Easter

Canada should demand compensation from the U.S. government for damages, legal bills and lost profits stemming from its latest failed trade action against the Canadian Wheat Board, says federal ag critic Wayne Easter.

Easter, a Prince Edward Island Liberal MP, said Wednesday he had written to the Conservative government’s newly appointed International Trade Minister Stockwell Day, asking him to “pursue with the U.S. administration” that Canada and the CWB be compensated for damages resulting from the imposition of tariffs on Canadian spring wheat exports to the U.S. between August 2003 and February 2006.

Those tariffs stemmed from an anti-dumping and countervailing duty case launched in 2002 by the North Dakota Wheat Commission. The CWB appealed to a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) tribunal, where the tariffs were deemed unfairly imposed and, in Easter’s words Wednesday, “completely unjustified.”

The U.S. Court of International Trade, in what the CWB considers a precedent-setting ruling for future cross-border trade disputes, ordered in late October this year that the tariffs collected by the U.S. government all be refunded.

Easter, in a letter to Day dated last Friday, said Canada should also demand from Washington that “all legal costs which have been borne by the Canadian Wheat Board and other Canadian interveners be compensated for; and that any lost profits to producers be compensated for by the U.S. government.”

“Western Canadian grain farmers have been unfairly targeted and deserve to receive full compensation for the damages inflicted,” Easter wrote.

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