Sunday, August 14, 2005

Fair Play - But Only If It Serves US Purpose??

WASHINGTON, DC, August 12, 2005 (ENS) - A top level NAFTA panel ruled Wednesday that Canada did not violate North American Free Trade Agreement rules on trade in softwood lumber. But the United States has brushed aside the ruling, infuriating Canadians, who said Washington's response calls the entire NAFTA agreement into question.

Reviewing a string of three lower panel rulings, the NAFTA Extraordinary Challenge Committee (EEC) decided that "the evidence on the record did not support a finding of a threat of material injury" to the United States from Canadian softwood lumber imports.

The Government of Canada now expects the United States to refund with interest all the duties paid by Canadian softwood lumber exporters since this dispute began, as is required by U.S. law and NAFTA. The duties collected by the United States to date amount to some $5 billion.

The U.S. attitude "raises serious and fundamental questions about the United States' commitment to the NAFTA, senior Canadian government officials said Thursday. "This isn't about rules being established it is about partners abiding by them."

"Canada is calling on the United States to stop collecting duties at the border and return the money immediately. We respect our NAFTA obligations and partners and expect nothing less from our fellow NAFTA members," the officials said.

"It is time for the United States to do the right thing. Decision after decision has come in Canada's favor. A legal, binding decision must be respected."

My thoughts: At the heart of this issue is the question of fair trade and more importantly, trust. I fully support our friendship, and as your friend, I gotta tell you that, quite frankly, sometimes American policy has you guys coming off as bullies, whose interest is put before all others, regardless of the rules by which you yourselves, are bound by. The response from your gov't officials on the softwood issue only bolsters this perception, whether it be founded in truth or not.

What say you?

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At Sun. Aug. 14, 11:50:00 a.m. MDT, Blogger Candace said...

This is an interesting one, and is similar to the "salmon wars" that took place in BC/Wash/Alaska in the 90s. I don't recall HOW that ended up, although things have settled down significantly.

I didn't appreciate Campbell (BC) suggesting that we (AB) withhold energy resources - like he can tell us what to do? - but as sabre rattling goes, that's about all we've got in the closet, and it would be a dangerous game to play.

As this and Kyoto both threaten AB's energy sector, it will be interesting to see if the rhetoric about separation gets turned up...

At Sun. Aug. 14, 12:47:00 p.m. MDT, Blogger v said...

In a more perfect world, we would have a PM who didn't deceive George Bush on BMD, and a Liberal caucus not infested with anti-Americanism, and it would be a matter that could be handled at the highest levels with a cordial phone call. But noooooooo, the Liberals had to go score cheap anti-American points, imperiling our bread-and-butter trade relaionship with the States.

If there is one thing I've learned about The Bush family is that if you cross them there is a 100% certainty they will retaliate in some manner. I don't know what the motivation is for the softwood issue but it would make more sense for Canadians to give Martin the boot and let a less deceptive leader who hasn't mangled his relationship with Bush take care of this.

At Sun. Aug. 14, 02:27:00 p.m. MDT, Blogger Justthinkin said...

Only when they(the Yanks) start imposing levies and tariffs on the industries of Ontario will anything change.Until then,PMPM couldn't give 2 hoots about how,what,or who is decimating the Western economies.In fact,IMHO,he would prefer we get screwed.That way,he can make us dependent on the dictatorship in Ottawa,just like the Maritimes and Quebec.Can't have those pesky Westerners running around spouting things like equality and fairness in government!

At Sun. Aug. 14, 04:47:00 p.m. MDT, Blogger ABFreedom said...

Justthinkin - couldn't agree more, but I can't for the life of mr think of what they do out east accept make our lives miserable. What could the U.S. impose tarrifs on?

At Sun. Aug. 14, 04:56:00 p.m. MDT, Blogger ABFreedom said...

If there is any good in all this, it's that the US still purchases the raw logs, the tariffs only apply to the processed lumber.

At Sun. Aug. 14, 05:10:00 p.m. MDT, Blogger Paul said...

If we've got no place further to appeal, give you the $5 Billion.

And I'd love to see us sock it to PMPM for ya'

At Sun. Aug. 14, 05:11:00 p.m. MDT, Blogger sheila said...

I think that the softwood lumber industry is very odd between Canada and the US - the US, though they keep losing at the tribunals are not entirely wrong saying that the Canadian industry is subsidized. Logging from crown lands is an effective subisidy in comparison with having to purchase the land. This is the case for the most part in the US. It's much more complicated than it ought to be. I'm not entirely without sympathy for the BC loggers but enough already - recognize and admit the subsidy and negotiate a reasonable trade pact where Canadian loggers actually pay a fair price for logging crown lands - right now it's not fair.

However, I also believe this dispute will continue to drag on until we get a different government in Ottawa. Lumber is not something the US particularly needs unlike energy so it's an easy trade target for political retaliation. Western Canada will always pay for the assinine anti- american crap that spews from the mouths of Ottawa liberals.

At Mon. Aug. 15, 07:00:00 a.m. MDT, Blogger Aizlynne said...

I agree with all of you that the Liberals have done little to ease tensions and they couldn't have picked a worse enemy than Bush. Although I don't always agree with Bush, he clearly has shown he is a leader, and I respect him on that basis alone (which is more than I can say for ANY of the leaders we have - whether they be provincial or federal - except maybe Danny Williams).

I enjoyed hearing from you Paul. It's important for us to get your feedback, and that of other Americans, in order to find ways to resolve our differences. Our friendship is too important to be spoiled over idiots in Ottawa, or idiots in Washington for that matter.

At Mon. Aug. 15, 06:45:00 p.m. MDT, Blogger Scott Tribe said...

This is all interesting rhetoric.. but the fact of the matter is that softwood lumber and tariffs have been going on for 100 years or mroe -- and that included during the Progressive (and I use that term loosely) Conservative regime of Mulroney.

It has nothing to do with crossing the Bush family.. we had these tariffs slapped on us prior to Iraq, and when we were fully cooperating with Bush on Afghanistan.

The fact of the matter is that the US is a protectionist country and will only do free trade when they can win at the WTO or if they have a natural advantage at some product.

Its time for Canada to retaliate - and hard.

And no.. this will not fuel western or Albertan separation.... does everything these days fuel "Western or Alberta separation" guys and gals - you of the seccesionist wing of the Blogging Tories?

Outside of the Western Standard's readership and some of you who blather on about it.. there is no support for separation in Western Canada and there wont be - trust me.

At Tue. Aug. 16, 12:12:00 a.m. MDT, Blogger Paul said...

Our friendship is everything. Setting up and keeping agreements or fair arbitration of disagreements should be all that we need. What anger, greed and hatred that may exist on both sides is simply carried by those who would turn it toward someone/thing else where we not neighbors.
Canada has meant to me, since childhood a strong, decent and likeable neighbor. To be respected as we ask for respect. As an equal as we wish to be considered an equal. Some can mock my words but they are mine and I will not change them.


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