U.S. Peas and Lentils Accused of Dumping
November 23, 2005
The Saskatchewan Pulse Growers (SPG) say they will launch an investigation into the ever increasing imports of peas and lentils from the U.S. into Canada. The SPG contend that many U.S. peas and lentils are being sold at lower prices than the cost of production.
This debate goes back to the Farm Bill of 2002 when both peas and lentils were granted a loan rate and receiving a LDP. Since that time, U.S. acreage of peas and lentils has increased from 400,000 acres in 2001 to over 1.25 millions acres in 2005.
The SPG hope to determine how much of the U.S. production is coming into Canada and of that, how much is subsidized. This problem goes back to the 90s when Canada had a subsidy under their "GRIP" program, which had the same acreage increasing effect on production in Canada.
At the same time that we have increased pea and lentil production, certainly pushed on by the ability to receive a LDP, the peas and lentils used in the PL 480 program have increased as well. It's ironic that peas and lentils are subsidized under the LDP program by the U.S. government, helping to keep their market prices low, then the U.S. government comes back to purchase them under the PL 480 program because of their price. Green and yellow peas are currently in the $8.00 per cwt areas. Lentils are running from $14 to $16 per cwt for all prices for processed product.
The extent of this irony is shown in the shipments of pulses purchased by the USDA under PL 480 tenders, as of fall, 2005. Of the total pulse purchases of 59,220 metric tons, 34,680 metric tons were lentils. This compared to last year's total to date of 39,580 metric tons and lentils accounted for 2,430 metric tons of that. Dry beans on the other hand accounted for 9,330 metric tons this year (16% of the total pulses) as compared to last year's 17,330 metric tons for the same period (44% of the total purchases).
This looks like another situation the WTO will have to figure out.
Michigan Bean Commission News. Reprinted with permission.