The Canadian government is facing another challenge to its collective food marketing systems at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), with the United States launching first stage disputes proceedings over a complaint about the Canadian Wheat Board.

Washington alleged that by granting it exclusive rights to purchase and sell western Canadian wheat for human consumption, Ottawa has broken the WTO’s GATT agreement.

Particular breaches alleged by the US claims include the ban on foreign enterprises from purchasing Canadian wheat, a ban on mixing imported American wheat with Canadian produced cereals and the capping of the maximum revenues that rail companies may receive for shipping Canadian grain. If formal consultations launched by the US fail, a WTO panel may arbitrate in the dispute.