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Canadian Tribunal Makes Concessions to Washington Potato Growers

In a 29-page opinion released Sept. 12, the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) removed long-standing antidumping duties on certain types of potatoes from the United States. Antidumping duties applied to imports of U.S. fresh potatoes for the past 21 years were removed on imports of reds, yellows and exotic potatoes, regardless of packaging, and a product exclusion was removed for 40-, 50-, 60, 70- and 80-count whites and russet potatoes imported in 50-pound cartons.

The CITT decision is the result of the latest round in a long and fierce trade war between the British Columbia and Pacific Northwest potato industries. A four-day hearing was held in July in Vancouver, British Columbia, to determine whether the termination of two decades of antidumping duties would result in injury to British Columbia potato growers.
During that hearing, the WSPC contended that the entire dumping order be removed -- on white and russet varieties as well reds, yellows and exotic varieties.

“We are pleased the CITT recognized that antidumping duties are not justified for a substantial amount of potatoes exported to B.C.,” said Matt Harris of the Washington State Potato Commission. “But we still question how the CITT could find injury to the B.C. growers when they have been and are projected to remain profitable.”

“We continue to believe that our potatoes should be allowed to compete in B.C. based on their quality and availability without artificial government price restrictions,” Harris said.

The Washington State Potato Commission has 30 days to decide whether to appeal the CITT decision to the Canadian Federal Court or a NAFTA appeals panel, according to Joel Junker, a Seattle-based international trade attorney who represented the commission in the hearing. The commission also has an appeal pending on another determination by the Canadian government that dumping would recur if the dumping duty were terminated.

Originally posted Tuesday, Sep. 13, 2005

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