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Rep. Cramer: Canadian government should let grain performance mandates lapse for CN, CP


U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer has called on the Canadian government to let grain shipment performance mandates imposed on CN and Canadian Pacific permanently expire on Nov. 29.

In separate letters to Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, and Surface Transportation Board (STB) leaders, Cramer outlined his growing concerns about the shipment mandates and recent federal fines levied against CN.

In the letters, Cramer asked the STB to join his effort to persuade the Canadian government to allow the mandates to expire in November, requested that Vilsack speak with Canadian Transport Minister Lisa Raitt and Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz to encourage the Canadian government to allow the mandates to lapse, and called on Froman to investigate Canada’s actions for potential trade violations.

In March, the Canadian government ruled it would fine CN and CP if either failed to move at least 536,250 metric tons of domestic grain per week. After the mandates were renewed Aug. 1, Cramer wrote to Doer reiterating his ongoing concerns about U.S. agriculture producers and shippers being placed at a disadvantage.

"The nexus between your performance mandates, and their implicit encouragement for CP and CN to provide less service to the United States, in my opinion provides a solid foundation for a successful trade violation claim," Cramer wrote.

On Sept. 25, Cramer received a letter from Doer indicating the two Class Is have met or exceeded required volumes on a weekly basis, demonstrating that the requirements are achievable.

"Assuming these mandates are predicated upon actual, rather than political need, doesn’t this statement actually confirm coercion at the expense of CP’s and CN’s United States customers?" Cramer asked in his letter to the STB. "No one, especially CP and CN, benefit from poor service."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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