Sept. 29 – The battle between northern agricultural states and Canada intensified last week, with Canadian truckers caught in the middle.
The Canadian government requested consultations under both the North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization to try to end the tough inspections that are keeping Canadian trucks from crossing into U.S. prairie states. Under the provisions of NAFTA, both sides have to meet within 15 days, 10 under the WTO.
The dispute began nearly two weeks ago, when South Dakota Gov. Bill Janklow began barring trucks with Canadian farm commodities from entering the state unless they had new paperwork proving their cargo was free of certain drugs and diseases. The move was meant to send a message to the U.S. government to put an end to Canadian grain dumping.
North Dakota and Montana soon started stopping truckers, as well, and Idaho is scheduled to start around-the-clock inspections today. The inspections will cover health and safety concerns, as well as highway weight and safety laws.