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US senator wants to probe alleged Canadian potato dumping

A US senator has asked his government to investigate allegations by American farmers that Canadians are illegally dumping potatoes into their market, potentially opening a new front in the two nations’ trade war.

There are more voices saying there’s a “strong case” that Canadians are unfairly taking away American share of the tuber market. US producers point to the surge in imports from across the border in recent years, and say they suspect the lower price of Canadian potatoes is due to government subsidies or dumping.

“At some point, you reach a boiling point where you say ‘Enough is enough, we’re going to start to figure out what’s going on here and take action’,” said Donavon Johnson, president of the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association, on Thursday.

Canadian farmers responded to say that they are partly just benefiting from a favourable exchange rate, and that there is nothing to the subsidy allegation.

According to nationalpost.com, senator Heidi Heitkamp from North Dakota said she raised the issue at a meeting with Canada’s deputy ambassador to the US: “Red River Valley potato growers have a strong case to be made that Canada has unfairly limited their profits and narrowed their fair market access.”

Canadian exports of potatoes -almost all to the US- grew 41 per cent over the five years leading up to 2016, according to a Canadian Agriculture Department report, with $212 million in fresh potatoes shipped to the U.S. in 2015-16.

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