COFI Responds to News of U.S. Imposed Duties
Prince George, B.C. – The U.S. Department of Trade and Commerce has levelled countervailing duties averaging about 20% against Canadian lumber being shipped to the United States. The B.C. Lumber Trade Council is denouncing the decision.
In a prepared release, President of the BC Lumber Trade Council, Susan Yurkovich says the duties are “unwarranted, and this determination is completely without merit.”
“The allegations made by the U.S. lumber lobby are the same arguments they made in prior rounds of litigation, all of which were rejected and overturned by independent NAFTA panels. This new trade action is driven by the same protectionist lumber lobby in the U.S. whose sole purpose is to create artificial supply constraints on lumber and drive prices up for their benefit, at the expense of American consumers.”
The U.S. Department of Commerce [DOC] also found “critical circumstances” which means duties will be retroactive 90 days for all companies other than the mandatory respondents ( Canfor, Resolute, Tolko and West Fraser). “The finding of critical circumstances in this case represents an unprecedented departure from the DOC’s typical approach and produces an entirely arbitrary result,” added Yurkovich.
“American demand for lumber exceeds what the U.S. lumber industry currently produces,” stated Yurkovich. “And, with housing and construction starts on the rise, demand for lumber is expected to continue to grow in the years ahead. The fact is, Canadian lumber imports don’t pose a threat to the U.S. lumber industry. There is enough North American demand to grow the U.S. industry while also allowing Canada to supply its U.S. customers as we have been doing for decades.”
“BC Lumber Trade Council continues to believe that reaching a new agreement is in the best interests of producers and consumers on both sides of the border and we will continue to work closely with our provincial and federal governments to support efforts to reach a new agreement. However, with this U.S. trade action, we will also continue to vigorously defend our industry and our workers against these unwarranted duties and expect to be successful as we have been in the past.”
They seem to have crafted this tariff to maximize damage to independent lumber companies with the retroactive 90 day penalty to all the companies other than the largest monopoly capitalists owned by Wall Street. So this is an attack on Canadian owned free enterprise more so than even about cross border trade. If Trudeau sits this one out then he truly is a weak leader.
I think Trudeau should lower the duty free limit for cross border shopping to $100 per person per trip in response to the American actions. This would support the Canadian retail industry that is suffering hard times, as well as get the attention of politicians from neighbouring states on fair trade. Canada is the largest export market for 35 American states most all of which voted for Trump, so that is our leverage for fair trade IMO.
That wouldn’t be very sensible with our dollar priced nearly 30% lower than theirs is, it’s Americans that come up here to buy and spend their greenbacks far more so than Canadians going down there to part with our loonies. It certainly wouldn’t lower the price of Canadian merchandise to Canadians, so how does does that help us?
Well I wouldn’t duty tax Americans coming to Canada, but to half the duty free for Canadians would send the signal to the border states that their tight retail market just got tougher. Why not stimulate a buy Canada policy in light of a clear biligerance from the American side?
It’s tough to tariff anything else without violating nafta, thus creating whole new problems… But most all Americans agree a trade war with Canada is misdirected fire and unless they know we have trade issues that effect them we don’t stand a chance of changing any minds in Washington. Lowering the duty free status is one thing we can do and implement it immediately. We can fight the idea of lumber arbitrage profits through tariffs with a cut to the retail arbitrage in border bureaucracy that undercuts our own retail industry and tax base.
The irony is this is only going to serve to further consolidate our Canadian forest industry in the monopoly capitalist hands of globalists; yet that has been the complaint is that our industry is subsidized by monopoly capitalist policies via public forest policy.
For the BC liberals they got to love it when a plan comes together.
I think if we had a government that supported more free enterprise in the local forest sector we could have blunted the charges against us, but that requires hard work of an involved government to create opportunities of new entrants and the access to fiber they require to open new operations in Canada. We twiddled our thumbs knowing this was coming down the road at us and that didn’t help our cause at all.
You won’t ever have a government that will be even remotely successful trying to “support more free enterprise in the local forest sector” until we have a government that actually understands FINANCE. And none of the current contenders for office show the slightest sign of having that ability. And even if, by chance, even one of them did, they would never have the guts to try to do anything about it. And if they did, well, not likely they’d last long.
You are right that none of the current contenders show the slightest sign or ability to support free enterprise. We would need a whole new party to get back to the basics of economic national free enterprise markets.
Simple… Put a tariff on raw log exports to the US. Tarrif on hydro electric power to the US.
Not so simple. We NEED their ‘money’ to live. EVERY country HAS TO try to export more than it imports, and receive some other country’s ‘money’ (convertible into its own money at the prevailing exchange rate) or there won’t be sufficient effective demand in its own domestic marketplace to enable what’s for sale here to sell. Not at anyways near the cost of its making, or importation, anyways.
As long as this holds true, (and it currently hold true for every country, including the US, although they’re in a bit more favourable position than everyone else is because their ‘money’ is the world’s reserve currency), we’re buggered.
Putting as tariff on raw log exports will only cause a rise in price of those logs, which will lead to American importers transferring their purchases elsewhere. To countries, (and there are a lot of them), who could then sell to the US cheaper. New Zealand is one country that would just love to capture more American log market share. They’re no the only one, by far.
Putting a tariff on hydro would likewise be counter productive. They’d simply buy electricity from elsewhere on the grid, or respond in kind for sales of electricity made to Canada.
I agree. Especially the energy market. The Americans are already claiming our energy market is subsidized so they can tax it. Trump has tax cuts for Americans he needs to pay for. I say why not export tax energy with a Canadian export carbon tax before the Americans tariff it all anyways. Grab the excess value before they do, so it benefits Canadians rather than Americans.
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