The U.S. Commerce Department has delayed until April 14 a decision on whether to pursue charges that Canada’s hog exports to the U.S. violate international trade rules.

On March 5, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), state pork producer organizations and a large number of individual producers filed antidumping and countervailing duty petitions, alleging that surging numbers of Canadian hog imports have depressed U.S. market prices.

The countervailing duty suit stems from the fact that U.S. imports of live hogs from Canada grew from 5.3 million hogs in 2001 to 7.3 million hogs in 2003, an increase of 37%.

The antidumping suit stems from NPPC charges that Canadian producers are selling their hogs to the U.S. at prices lower than they are selling them for in Canada.