NAMA Defends Free Trade With CanadaApril 23, 2002
WASHINGTON, D.C. — April 23, 2002 – In a statement before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs, Foreign Commerce and Tourism the North American Millers' Association (NAMA) defended free trade in wheat between the U.S. and Canada. Speaking on behalf of NAMA, John C. Miller, president, Miller Milling Company stated, ” Competitive access to Canadian durum allows us to fulfill our obligation to supply U.S. pasta makers with the quality and quantity of semolina they require to satisfy U.S. consumers and compete with imports.”
U.S. millers occasionally buy Canadian wheat for specific milling, baking or pasta-making properties and to supplement the U.S. crop. The 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. Mr. Miller stated, ” U.S. millers buy Canadian durum primarily because the United States does not produce enough durum wheat of the quality our customers, U.S. pasta makers, require. This has been the case since we built our first durum mill in 1986 and it remains the case today.”
Mr. Miller continued, ” Canadian durum is a necessary supplement to U.S. production of high quality durum, especially in years where adverse weather or farmer crop choices further reduce production of high quality durum.”
NAMA applauded the announcement by the United States Trade Representative in February that it will not impose restrictions on wheat entering the United States from Canada.
At the same time, NAMA encourages the Trade Representative to seek more access to the Canadian market for U.S. growers. Free trade in both directions was the admirable goal of NAFTA and the realization of that goal should be a priority.
NAMA has 44 member companies operating 165 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.