WASHINGTON, D.C. - In separate letters, Oregon Congressman Bob Smith, Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, today sharply questioned both Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman and Frank Claydon, Canada's Deputy Minister of Agriculture, over rising exports of Canadian wheat to the United States.
On Tuesday, Agriculture Under Secretary August Schumacher revealed that Canadian wheat exports to the United States had greatly exceeded the levels of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which while expired, the Canadians had nonetheless told Chairman Smith would continue to be broadly met.
"It has come to my attention that imports of wheat, both durum and spring wheat, from Canada to the United States are at levels that significantly exceed the voluntary limits set in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which was effective on September 12, 1994. In our discussions, there was agreement from Canada that wheat exports would stay broadly within the levels included in the MOU. From the information that I have received, it is apparent that wheat exports are not staying broadly within those levels. Instead, Canadian exports of durum wheat exceed those levels by over 21% and exports of spring wheat by over 35%. I regret that Canada has chosen this course. I will appreciate receiving clarification from you at your earliest convenience," Smith wrote Canada's Claydon.
"I am concerned about the levels of exports of wheat, both durum and spring wheat, from Canada to the United States. I know you share that concern and, in fact, you have made several public statements to that effect. You may recall that during your appearance before the Committee on Agriculture on March 18, 1997, you forcefully reiterated that concern stating that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will not tolerate market disruption from imports of Canadian grain," Smith wrote Glickman.
"At that time I stated that this issue would be raised with the Canadians, as it was just one week later in the course of the Committee on Agriculture's Trade Delegation to Canada. On March 25, 1997, I, and several other Members of the Committee, met with the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Frank Claydon. During that meeting there was agreement from Canada that wheat exports would stay broadly within the levels included in the 1994 MOU," Smith wrote Glickman.
Smith represents Oregon's Second Congressional District - which includes most of eastern, central, and southern Oregon - in the U.S. House of Representatives.