Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Softwood lumber deal has us all backed in a corner

The garbage deal made by the Non elected conservative David Emerson, and supported by Stephen Harper, has us somewhat backed into a corner.

The only reason this guy switched was to try to finsish the lumber deal and we get this. This guy should resign now for making such a mess of this, as well as the fact that he was never elected to by his consitutents as a conservative in the first place. So now the lumber execs get treated the same as the residents of Vancouver Kingsway. Basically shutup and sign up, I know whats best for you.


US Lumber Lobby Only Winner if Harper’s Sell-out of Canada’s Softwood Industry Stands
August 14, 2006
OTTAWA – Trade Minister David Emerson’s self-imposed deadline leaves him little time to atone for the bullying tactics the Stephen Harper government has applied since it began selling-out Canada’s softwood industry for the sake of a na├»ve, and now failing, public relations exercise, said Liberal International Trade Critic Dominic LeBlanc today.
“I hope Minister Emerson takes this week to show that he is finally willing to push the U.S. for much needed changes to a deal that industry has been justifiably reluctant to accept,” said Mr. LeBlanc. “Without additional changes to ensure Canadian interests, the Harper government needs to walk away from this deal and reach out to our producers with support, including living up to election commitments to pursue legal challenges under NAFTA and provide loan guarantees.”
Mr. LeBlanc noted a string of recent U.S. court decisions have made it even more difficult for Canadian firms to agree to the current terms of the deal as much of the legal leverage our industry has gained over the past few weeks would be completely squandered if the agreement was adopted.
On July 14, the top U.S. trade court, the Court of International Trade, determined that tariffs collected on Canadian lumber could not be distributed to the U.S. industry. This ruling clearly determines the only way U.S. producers can now get their hands on any of the roughly $5.2 billion (U.S) in softwood tariffs collected since May 2002 or any money collected in future is if Canadian firms agree to this softwood deal.
Also significant was the July 21 ruling in which three trade court judges unanimously upheld previous NAFTA panel rulings that the anti-dumping and countervailing levies were improperly applied. The court determined that the U.S. cannot circumvent NAFTA rulings by appealing to apparently contrary rulings by the World Trade Organization. The trade court also ordered the repayment of the $1.2 billion U.S. in duties collected since November 2004 and is set to undertake a decision on what should happen to the remaining $4 billion.
“If this deal were in effect today, it would impose even higher export duties on our producers and would award the U.S. lumber lobby $500 million in money that U.S. courts say was illegally collected and that is expected to be returned in full by court order,” noted Mr. LeBlanc.
In addition to the five to 15 per cent border tax which would immediately be triggered at the highest rate at current lumber prices, the deal’s “opt out” clause fails to guarantee any stability, as after as little as two years the U.S. could re-launch further trade action against Canada and pull out of the deal . It also agrees to a 34 per cent cap on Canadian exports; "surge mechanisms" that punish efficient producers; and crippling duties on Canadian re-manufacturers and value-added producers.
“There is still so little for Canadian producers to like in this so-called deal,” added Mr. LeBlanc. “Instead of forcing our industry to make the bleak choice between being abandoned or sold-out by the Harper government, Mr. Emerson should use the legal leverage Canada has gained over the past weeks to broker a better deal—a deal that all of our affected producers can accept.”
“Anything less wastes Canada’s softwood victories under NAFTA and puts our softwood industry’s neck firmly in the hands of the American lumber lobby,” Mr. LeBlanc added.