Wilbur Ross Hits Canada With Soft Wood Import Tariff…

How do you get congress to accept the NAFTA notification of intent letter? Why, you backstop the Canadian decision to undermine U.S. dairy farm exports by applying equity import tariffs and offsetting losses to U.S. manufacturers.

First stop, lumber mills. ie U.S. regional impacts, not coincidentally, represented by key Democrat constituents.

The congressional delegations from Washington State and Oregon happen to be mostly elected Democrats; and they happen to applaud the efforts; which means they are not able to criticize the approach. Hmm, it’s almost as if Wilburine and POTUS had a strategy or something.   Nah, couldn’t be.

(Via CNN) These are the first tariffs imposed by President Trump, who during his election campaign threatened to use them on imports from both China and Mexico. The decision on Monday is bound to lead to a standoff and could stoke fears of a trade war between the US and Canada, two of the world’s largest trade powers.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the tariffs, or taxes, announced Monday evening were being imposed after trade talks on dairy products fell through.

“It has been a bad week for US-Canada trade relations,” Ross said in a statement. Trump’s tariffs come as the US, Canada and Mexico prepare to renegotiate NAFTA, the free trade agreement among the three countries that came into being in 1994. Trump has directed almost all of his NAFTA criticism at Mexico, which makes this decision even more surprising.

When Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Trump in February, Trump said he only expected to be “tweaking” the US-Canada trade relationship.

The tariffs — also called duties — ranged from 3% to 24% on specifically five Canadian lumber companies. For all other Canadian lumber companies, there’s a nearly 20% duty imposed on exports to the US.

The five firms were: West Fraser Mills, Tolko Marketing and Sales, J.D. Irving, Canfor Corporation, and Resolute FP Canada. West Fraser Mills will pay the highest duty of 24%.

The duties were imposed to create a level playing field for American lumber companies.

U.S. lumber companies allege Canadian firms are provided with unfair subsidies by the Canadian government.

Canadian exports of softwood lumber to the U.S. were valued at $5.6 billion last year, according to the Commerce Department.

The Commerce Department said the duties are preliminary and a final determination will be made in September. The U.S. Lumber Coalition, which represents the industry, said the duties will likely take effect starting sometime next week. The Commerce Department wasn’t available to clarify. (read more)

REACTION: Senator Ron Wyden (Democrat-Oregon.), the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, applauded the Commerce Department’s decision.

“Unfairly traded softwood lumber from Canada has for decades hurt mill towns and American millworkers in Oregon and across the country,” Wyden said.

“Today’s announcement sends the message that help is on the way,” he said. (link)

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