WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, CANADA — The Canada-U.S. Grain and Seed Trade Task Group said on Feb. 4 that it has published new information that will help commercial grain handlers and buyers better understand the regulations on cross-border trade. The task group includes several not-for-profit U.S. and Canadian associations working together to provide information that facilitates grain and seed marketing between the two countries.

The information is posted on the group's website, It includes new options for commercial handlers to obtain a phytosanitary certificate for U.S., Canadian or commingled grain shipments to third countries loaded at elevators in either country. The website now provides four trade modules, covering U.S. producer deliveries, Canadian producer deliveries, seed trade and the new commercial module as well as industry news updates. 
The task group formed after the Canadian Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act of 2011 ended the mandatory marketing requirement for western Canadian farmers and changed several aspects of the commercial trade, including the elimination of end-use certificates. The open-market changes provide new opportunities for U.S. and Canadian producers and traders to move wheat, durum, or barley across the border but that grain is still subject to the respective and applicable customs and import regulations, such as phytosanitary requirements. Some of that grain may also be exported to a third country.
"U.S. and Canadian government agencies in both countries clarified the requirements governing how phytosanitary certificates are issued for commodities transshipped through either country," said Tyler Bjornson, interim executive director of the Canadian Grains Council. "The new rules provide more transparency about the origin of grain, but they can be complex. Now grain handlers and buyers can reference the new commercial module and share their questions and comments on the website."
"This new information should answer many of the questions that commercial traders had following the open-market transition about cross-border trade opportunities in both countries," said Gary Martin, president and chief executive officer of the North American Export Grain Association. "We are very pleased to provide this kind of support that has only been possible because so many grower and industry stakeholders on both sides of the border have been willing to work together."
Task Group members will continue their efforts to improve transparency and recommend policies that facilitate cross border agricultural trade that exceeds $40 billion in two-way trade each year.