OTTAWA (AP) — The Canadian government said Thursday it will try a two-pronged strategy to end harassment and tough inspections that are deterring Canadian trucks from crossing into U.S. border states in the Prairies.
Trade Minister Sergio Marchi said Canada has simultaneously requested consultations under both the North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization to settle the dispute over Canadian agricultural products.
Marchi’s comments follow a meeting in Washington between Raymond Chretien, Canada’s ambassador to the United States, and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman. Chretien indicated Canada would take retaliatory action if the harassment isn’t stopped.
Marchi said that under the provisions of NAFTA, both sides have to meet within 15 days. It’s 10 days under the WTO. If the consultation process fails, the dispute could go to arbitration under both NAFTA and the WTO.
American farmers, frustrated by low prices, have been blocking Canadian truckers hauling wheat and hogs south for more than a week. Cattle shipments have also been held up.