This Space for Rent

Sold down the river

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has delivered what two Liberal predecessors could not: a truce in the five-year softwood lumber dispute with the United States that will buy peace for nearly a decade.

Canada and the United States agreed yesterday to a seven-year deal -- with the option of renewing for two more -- that ends one of this nation's costliest trade wars and returns $4-billion (U.S.) in U.S.-collected duties to Canadian firms.

The United States collected US$5 billion in illegal duties, and gets to keep US$1 billion for its troubles. Mind you, this comes after six or seven rounds of NAFTA arbitrators ruling that the United States must not charge a tariff, and that the United States must return all of the US$5 billion in illegal duties.

Also, yesterday the United States formally filed a challenge to a recent NAFTA ruling that ordered it to cut the major portion of the duties to zero

But at least Canadian lumbermen can send all the lumber they want to the United States now, without fear of tariffs or other restrictions?

Under the complex arrangement, Canada can ship as much lumber as it wants to the United States. But if the price falls below $355 per thousand board feet (the current price is about $370), the different regions of Canada have to make a choice. They can pay a sliding export tax that rises as high as 15 per cent as lumber prices fall, or pay a smaller charge and face a regional quota. Canada would collect the export tax.

So that would mean "it's tariff time in the OK corral?" But at least there will be no quotas!

Canada's share of the U.S. lumber market will be capped at the current 34 per cent, broken down regionally, based on 2004-05 exports.

Umm, er, ahem. Nice weather we're having, isn't it?

But, anyway, once you've ignored the continued existance of tariffs (but these are collected by the neoTory govermnent instead of the United States, so that makes all the difference) and quotas, there certainly won't be any other surprises with this agreement, will there?

A clause in the tentative softwood deal between Canada and the United States is being called a deal-breaker by elements of the B.C. forest industry because of fears it impinges on Canadian sovereignty.

he clause commits the agreement signatories to take no actions that would undermine the agreement or offset export restrictions.

But sources said it could require provincial governments to submit policy changes to U.S. officials - for instance revising timber prices in the B.C. Interior, where companies are rushing to harvest stands of beetle-infested trees.

Sources said the issue was not discussed in the feverish negotiations that took place this week leading up to Thursday's agreement. But the written deal submitted Thursday raised a red flag.

I guess if you've lived in a cave on the dark side of the moon for the past 225 years something like this might come as a surprise, but in the Real World this is just another manifestation of the traditional respect that the United States has for, um, everyone else. But I'm sure there's already a seat reserved on the Carlyle board, so someone will make out like a bandit for selling his country down the river.

(links via My Blahg, pogge, and comments from an article posted on Cathie from Canada)



Up here in Lotuslandia North we’re gettin' all cranked up to go all raw logs all the time - especially on the beetle wood.

Bye, bye union sawmill jobs hello Asian sweatshops.

But that’s not the worst of it…..

What’s even worse is watching Lance Link’s cast-off crony David Wilkins crow on this thing.

And what’s even way (way, way, way) worse is the fact that the neanderTories are now proudly parading their new media ‘consultant’ Frank Luntz around Ottawa.



RossK Sun Apr 30 11:57:42 2006

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