Canadian and American grain companies have a new resource to assist them when buying or transhipping grain to or through each other’s countries.
The goal is to expedite grain trading between the two nations and beyond following the elimination of the Canadian Wheat Board’s single desk.
“We’ve seen all sorts of border challenges in other types of commodities so we wanted to make sure we did a very good job of making sure the information was out there for everyone,” Canada Grains Council president Tyler Bjornson said in an interview Feb. 6. “We wanted to dispel any myths and make sure the appropriate information from authorities from either side of the border was available publicly.”
The information was prepared by the Canada-U.S. Grain and Seed Trade Task Group and is posted on its website. It’s designed to give commercial grain buyers a better understanding of cross-border trade regulations.
The task group, which included Canada Grains Council and the North American Grain Export Association, National Grain and Feed Association and U.S. Wheat Associates, has already posted information for Canadian and American grain farmers and seed growers and distributors.
“The open market changes provide new opportunities for U.S. and Canadian producers and traders to move wheat, durum, or barley across the border, but that grain is still subject to the respective and applicable customs and import regulations, such as phytosanitary requirements,” the task group said in a news release. “Some of that grain may also be exported to a third country.”
The 29-page document is full of meaty information ranging from links to sites regarding local highway road weight restrictions to links on obtaining phytosanitary certificates. There’s information on shipping grain from one country into the other and then on to a third country. Canadian and American grain-grading systems are also discussed.
“It’s meant to be a proactive information service for anyone engaging in cross-border trade to make sure there isn’t any confusion and frustrations don’t turn into irritants at the end of the day,” Bjornson said.
“I think it’s important for our Canadian industry to have an open, transparent discussion with our U.S. colleagues… to make sure as the private sector we’re managing any concerns together that might be coming up rather than letting them become sore points.”
In the past the United States has slapped countervailing duties on imported Canadian wheat, although they were ruled to be unjustified and were overturned. At the time the wheat board’s monopoly was cited as an irritant. It’s gone, but there are still concerns among some that a sudden flood of Canadian wheat into the U.S. could prompt trade action. However, others have predicted in an open market Canadian and U.S. wheat prices will arbitrage preventing a rush of Canadian wheat to the south.