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NAMA Applauds Administration Decision on Wheat Trade

February 15, 2002

WASHINGTON, D.C. – February 15, 2002 – The North American Millers' Association (NAMA) reacted with praise to the announcement by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) that it will not impose restrictions on wheat entering the United States from Canada.

U.S. millers occasionally buy Canadian wheat for specific milling, baking or pasta properties and to supplement the U.S. crop. The U.S. durum crop was insufficient to meet demand in 15 out of the last 15 years. The hard red spring wheat crop was insufficient in 12 of the last 15 years.

“Ambassador Zoellick and his staff are to be commended for their careful analysis and for reaching the correct decision. Wheat foods are an important part of the American diet. Millers, bakers, pasta manufacturers and American consumers are well served by this decision,” said NAMA chairman Bernard J. Rothwell III.

The USTR had been petitioned to impose restrictions on the wheat purchases in a section 301 petition filed by some growers.

“We look forward to working with the Administration and growers toward our mutual goal of eliminating the monopoly powers of State Trading Enterprises. That has been NAMA's position for several years,” Rothwell said. “We must have access to Canadian wheat, regardless of the seller. Currently, there is only one seller but we look forward to the day when millers can buy from many sellers. More competition in a free market would be best.”

NAMA encourages the U.S. Trade Representative to seek more access to the Canadian market for U.S. growers. “Fair is fair, and wheat and wheat products should be able to move freely across the border in both directions,' Rothwell continued. “That was the goal of NAFTA.”

NAMA has 44 member companies operating 166 wheat, corn, oat and rye mills in 38 states and 150 cities. The aggregate production capacity of NAMA's membership is more than 160 million pounds of product daily, which is about 90% of the total U.S. capacity.

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