US lumber tariffs to hinder Canada’s lumber industry

Image: Wikimedia Commons

US lumber tariffs to hinder Canada’s lumber industry

India Blooms News Service | 26 Apr 2017

Toronto, Apr 26 (IBNS): The long simmering softwood lumber dispute between the Canada and US took the centre stage when US President Donald Trump and his administration slammed Ottawa’s provocation to 'rough' trade practices and slapped new duties on Canadian lumber.

“People don’t realize that Canada has been very rough on the United States. Everyone thinks of Canada as being wonderful and so do I. I love Canada. But they have outsmarted our politicians for many years,” Trump had alleged on Tuesday.

At a meeting in the White House with the farmers, President Trump promised to open foreign markets to their products, but also used the same platform to protest against Canada’s rejection cross border trade of dairy and lumber.

He further said that the sell of dairy products were not allowed from Wisconsin, New York and other border states to Canada. 

“This has been going on for a while and we’re not going to put up with it,” he said.

“Separately, we will be putting a very big tariff on lumber, timber coming into this country,” Trump said, adding, “We don’t want to be taken advantage of by other countries. That’s stopping and its stopping fast.”

Though President Trump denied any chance of trade war with his Northern neighbour and biggest trading partner, the Canada-US trade tensions has heightened over this lumber issue despite an encouraging start to US–Canada trade relation under Trump administration few months back.

In Washington, the US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross while praising Canada as its 'closest ally and all weather friend' did not fall short of accusing it for engaging in unfair trade practices.

“They are close ally, they are an important ally. They are generally good neighbour. That does not mean they don’t have to play by the rules,” Ross further commented in a White House briefing.

“It’s not a question of President Trump messing with the Canadians. We believe the Canadians violated legitimate practice," he added.

When President Trump took charge of the Oval office in January, he took pledge to either renegotiate NAFTA or tear it up.

Ross said the ongoing disputes highlight the need to get those negotiations quickly.

“We look forward to constructive discussions with the Canadians as we get into NAFTA,” Ross concluded.

Meanwhile, "Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called up Trump over telephone on Tuesday and in that call, the prime minister repudiated the baseless allegation by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the decision to impose unfair duties,” a statement from the PMO’s office read.

“The Prime Minister stressed that the Government of Canada will vigorously defend the interests of the Canadian softwood lumber industry, as we have successfully done in all past lumber disputes with the U.S.,” the statement further said.

The two leaders decided to reach an agreement keeping in mind the importance of the lumber trade, the PMOs office added.

In Ottawa, the Canadian officials jumped up to respond Washington’s decision to impose duties around 20 per cent on Canadian softwood products.

If the proposed duties are made effective then the Canadian lumber export worth around 5 billion dollars will now be charged with 1 billion dollar in duty.

According to Canada’s Natural resources Minister Jim Carr, those complaints are “unfounded” and said that the Canadian government “disagree strongly” with the “unfair” duties.

At a Press conference, Minister Carr further added that “the task force has been formed to address the needs of forced workers immediate action to help affected companies, workers and affected communities. Now the US decision impose the preliminary countervailing duties has been confirmed we reconvening federal provincial task force on softwood lumber this week to examine together the next steps.” 

“The Liberals have completely failed in 100 of Canadian communities in this softwood lumber file,” opposition and New Democratic Party leader Tom Mulcair said at a press conference organized by Canadian Press.

(Reporting Suman Das)


Image: Wikimedia Commons

US lumber tariffs to hinder Canada’s lumber industry

India Blooms News Service
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