Goehring says new Canadian rules could hamper ND exports

BISMARCK – Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring is urging the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to reconsider proposed new regulations he says will adversely and unnecessarily impact North Dakota growers, exporters and government agencies.

“I hope the direction of CFIA's new requirements does not become a non-tariff trade barrier that limits North Dakota's market access and could increase the price and delay on-time delivery of the commodities to Canadian processors and consumers,” Goehring said in a letter to the CFIA's Plant Health and Biosecurity Directorate.

Goehring said he is especially concerned by the number of phytosanitary certificates that would be required. These certificates track the inspection of agricultural commodities and certify compliance with the plant health standards of importing countries.

“The necessary phytosanitary certificates will cost an exporter several hundred dollars per shipment of grain which would be delayed days to weeks because of the required testing,” he said. “The exporter would need to arrange for testing and payment of fees from the Federal Grain Inspection Service for the absence of live insects, the North Dakota State Seed Department for the regulated weed seeds and my department for the phytosanitary certificate.”

Goehring said if these certificates are required, it will ultimately limit or stop farmers from directly shipping these commodities from the field or their bins to Canada, and exporters will also look for other markets because of the increased financial burden.

“The regulations will drastically increase the workload of agencies that issue phytosanitary certificates,” he said. “The North Dakota Department of Agriculture issues about 2,500  certificates each year. If the new CFIA rules go into effect, that number of certificates could potentially increase to more than 27,400.”

Goehring also said the rules could inadvertently hurt Canadian companies.

“Last year, North Dakota exported to Canada more than $150 million worth of commodities that would be regulated under this directive,” he said. “A large amount of these commodities, notably canola, are then processed in Canada and exported back to the United States in other forms. The directive could cause economic hardship to North Dakota farmers, Canadian companies and ultimately consumers.”   

 

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