NAMA Defends Access to Entire North American Wheat CropSeptember 4, 2003
CONTACT: James Bair, Vice President
Washington, DC – September 4, 2003. A panel of milling executives representing the North American Millers’ Association (NAMA) vigorously defended their right to access the entire North American wheat crop today. In a hearing of the International Trade Commission (ITC), the millers described the annual shortfall in both the quantity and quality of the U.S. hard red spring and durum wheat crops. In response to petitions brought by a North Dakota grower group, the ITC is investigating whether imports of wheat from Canada have injured U.S. wheat growers.
The millers pointed out that between 1996 and 2002, growers in North Dakota, the principal hard red spring and durum growing state, cut their plantings of hard red spring wheat by 2.7 million acres (28 percent) and of durum wheat by nearly one million acres (30 percent). As a result, total use of hard red spring wheat in 2002 was 583 million bushels while production was a mere 407 million bushels. 2002 durum usage was 120 million bushels with a production of only 80 million bushels.
Further exacerbating the shortage was the fact that only three-fourths of the 2002 hard red spring wheat crop was of milling quality – U.S. Grades 1 or 2. Only one-half of the durum crop was of milling quality.
“Competitive access to Canadian spring wheat and durum allows us to fulfill our obligation to supply U.S. bakers and pasta makers with the quality and quantity of flour and semolina they require to satisfy U.S. consumers,” said NAMA director and committee chairman John Miller, Miller Milling Co., Minneapolis, MN. “It is disheartening to observe the growers focus on eliminating competition rather than strengthening their ability to fairly compete. We will continue, as we always have, to look first to domestic suppliers for our spring wheat and durum requirements. But we must not be prevented from securing alternative supplies from other sources when conditions require.”
Testifying on behalf of NAMA were David Potter, American Italian Pasta Co., Kansas City, MO; Greg Viers, Barilla America, Ames, IA; John Hillman, Bay State Milling Co., Quincy, MA; Randy Marten, Miller Milling Co., Minneapolis, MN; Alan Koenig, Milner Milling Co., Chattanooga, TN and Jim Meyer, Italgrani USA, St. Louis, MO.
NAMA has 46 member companies operating 170 wheat, corn, oat and rye mills in 38 states and 150 cities. Its membership represents about 95% of the total U.S. capacity.
Background information on NAMA
Open Borders (301 Petition): Should the United States keep the border open for unrestricted trade with Canada in wheat and products? NAMA says yes.Supply and demand considerations, including quality problems in the U.S. crop, make access to the entire North American wheat crop absolutely essential for the milling industry to remain efficient and competitive.
NAMA Reacts to Commerce Department Tariff Ruling on Wheat Imports from Canada, August 29, 2003
NAMA Looks Forward to Final Stage of Wheat Import Investigation, May 2, 2004
NAMA Urges ITC to Deny Petition for Restricting Wheat Trade , news release, October 8, 2002
NAMA Opposes Efforts to Restrict Trade in Wheat Between the U.S. and Canada, news release September 17, 2002
The North American Millers’ Association Defends Free Trade with Canada, news release, April 23, 2002
The North American Millers’ Association Applauds Administration Decision on Wheat Trade -news release, February 15, 2002
NAMA’s comments in response to the request for public comment on the wheat trading practices of the Canadian Wheat Board – January 14, 2002
International Trade Commission Report Supports Continued Free Trade in Wheat between the U.S. and Canada – NAMA news release, January 2, 2002
NAMA talking points on the report by the International Trade Commission
Testimony before the International Trade Commission – June 6, 2001.