A World Trade Organisation disputes panel will hear a case brought by the United States against Canada over collective marketing systems for wheat and grain, operated by the Canadian Wheat Board.

Washington alleges that by granting it exclusive rights to purchase and sell western Canadian wheat for human consumption, Ottawa has broken the WTO’s GATT agreement and its TRIMS (Trade-Related Investment Measures) agreement.

If the USA is successful, it could open the door for challenges to similar cooperative marketing systems worldwide. Particular breaches alleged by the US claims include the ban on foreign enterprises from purchasing Canadian wheat. Chile, Taiwan, the European Union, Japan and Mexico have reserved their rights to participate in the dispute.