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Washington State Potato Commission Demands Return of Confidential Documents

Legal counsel for the Washington State Potato Commission (WSPC) has filed a complaint with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) demanding return or destruction of submitted confidential information because of undisclosed and unauthorized release of the information under new CBSA procedures.

Several Washington potato shippers had submitted sensitive financial documents requested by the CBSA in connection with a Normal Value Review investigation used to determine anti-dumping duties on U.S. potato imports to British Columbia, Canada. Confidential information from the documents was subsequently released under new CBSA regulations to representatives of the British Columbia Vegetable Marketing Commission (BCVMC) without any notice to the WSPC.

Counsel for WSPC learned of the disclosure after the fact in discussions with CBSA representatives. Once informed, Washington potato counsel pointed out to CBSA that the information had been released to someone whose eligibility for access to the documents was in doubt. An objection was filed with the CBSA Aug. 20. The situation grew worse when some of the confidential information was included in a public submission by counsel for the BCVMC.

The CBSA responded to the WSPC counsel that it saw no problem with the request and that CBSA procedures and practices were comprehensive and did not need to be changed to allow parties to view names before disclosing information. At that point, the WSPC decided to demand the return of the confidential information.

Originally posted Monday, Oct. 18, 2004

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