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gle desk” feature may have other significant advantages, but these are debated.42

State Trading Enterprises and the CWB

The wheat dispute in NAFTA is unique because of the different market- ing systems and political influence of key wheat producers in the United States and Canada. Private farmers are the base of wheat production in both countries, but marketing systems differ. In the United States, large private grain companies, such as Cargill and Bunge, buy most of the crop and sell wheat around the world.43 In Canada, the CWB acquires virtually

42. The CWB’s ability to extract a premium on wheat sales is the most debated issue. Some studies argue that since the CWB is most active in markets where price counts more than quality, Canadian grain has been priced competitively but not necessarily at a CWB price premium. See Kraft, Furtan, and Tyrchniewicz (1996) and Carter and Loyns (1998). See also GAO (1998).

43. According to a recent USITC report, Cargill and Continental each own a 29 percent share of US grain storage capacity; Archer Daniels Midland is the third largest company with a 28 percent share. Four large US firms account for 47 percent of US wheat exports. Private firms are gaining importance in the Canadian industry as well. Two US companies own 70 percent of Canadian milling capacity. Among Canadian pasta plants, for example, 90 percent are foreign-owned, of which 67 percent are owned by US investors. See USITC (2001) and Qual- man and Wiebe (2002).

AGRICULTURE

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