Canadian hogs aren’t hurting U.S. farmers

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. International Trade Commission determined April 6 the U.S. hog industry is not injured by live swine imports from Canada – even though the U.S. Department of Commerce determined the hogs are sold in the United States at less than fair value.
As a result of the determination, no antidumping duty order will be issued. Had the commission found otherwise, it could have imposed duties ranging up to 18.87 percent.
Dumping on U.S.? U.S. pork groups, including the Ohio Pork Producers, petitioned for the investigation. The groups alleged that Canadian hog producers received illegal subsidies from the Canadian government and were dumping them on the U.S. market.
The Commerce Department had earlier rejected the illegal subsidy allegations.
Disappointed. National Pork Producers Council President Don Buhl called the ruling “disappointing” and said Canadian producers still have an “unfair advantage over U.S. producers due to government subsidies.”
“We cannot understand how two groups of producers (U.S. and Canadian) can react so differently to the same market signals,” Buhl said.
“Something is distorting this economic relationship and we remain convinced that it is the programs of the Canadian and provincial governments.”
In 2003, U.S. imports of Canadian live swine totaled 3.3 percent of the U.S. market by weight. Two-thirds of the live swine imports from Canada are baby pigs raised to market weight by U.S. farmers, according to the Pork Trade Action Coalition, which opposed the petition.
“The ITC made the right decision,” said John R. Block, former U.S. secretary of agriculture and senior adviser to the Pork Trade Action Coalition.
Retaliation. But, Block added, there’s another wrinkle: The Canadian government just announced retaliatory tariffs on imports of U.S. live swine.
The announcement came after Congress failed to repeal the Byrd Amendment, a 2000 U.S. law ruled illegal by the World Trade Organization.
The Byrd Amendment directs U.S. Customs to distributes monies to U.S. companies that petitioned or supported antidumping and countervailing duty actions, while other duties are distributed to the U.S. Treasury.

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