U.S. onion growers concerned over Canadian exports

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U.S. onion growers concerned over Canadian exports

U.S. onion growers reportedly say they cannot compete with the price of onions imported from Canada, and they want the U.S. government to find out why they are so cheap.

Shay Myers, who grows onions in Oregon and Idaho, said his profits dropped by 25% in 2019 as prices fell and he lost customers to Canada, local website United Press International reported.

In New York, grower Chris Pawelski said cheap Canadian onions flooded the market and he was unable to sell any of his 2019 crop.

"This may put me out of business," Pawelski was quoted as saying. "I can't sell my onions. How do I possibly farm when I haven't paid my bills for the 2019 season?"

Prices for Canadian onions are so low that some in the U.S. onion industry reportedly allege Canada's government is subsidizing its growers. Such an action could violate international law.

The World Trade Organization prohibits countries from directly subsidizing exports, said Alan Sykes, a law professor at Stanford Law School.

Countries are allowed to broadly subsidize their agricultural industries as a whole. But if those subsidies harm an importing country's domestic producers, the affected country can impose import duties to level the playing field, Sykes said.

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