Canadian Softwood Producers win in highest U.S. trade court


Briteyes
#1
We have been so fortunate that Mr. Stephen Harper and David Emerson settled our softwood lumber dispute and it was implemented just one day before the U.S. ruled in our favour now we are out over 1 billion dollars. Here is the entire article it is a must read sorry it is so long.
The 'Softwood Sellout Agreement' is not the final word

GORDON GIBSON
From Tuesday's Globe and Mail
Eat a lot of crow, convince us we should walk away from a billion dollars, or face a dangerous election issue? These are the unattractive choices facing the Harper government after a huge lumber industry victory in the U.S. Court of International Trade (CIT) last Friday.
That court ruled we are entitled to the return of every penny of the $5.3-billion of illegally imposed duties on our softwood exports over the years, as well as free entry of our products. But in the recent "Softwood Sellout Agreement," Ottawa said it would forgo $1-billion of the total duties owed it and agreed to a new border charge as high as 22.5 per cent.
The vague public impression is that we had to do what amounts to a bad deal because the Yankee bully had us on the ropes and would simply keep changing the rules until we capitulated. That is what our government would like us to believe -- but it is not true.
The true story is one of duplicity on both sides of the border. The Americans, naturally, were conspiring against our industry. But in a weird twist, our government has been helping them. To understand this requires looking at two tracks.
There is the legal track, which our industry has been following for five years. As of this spring, we had won near-final victories under NAFTA and in the CIT. By last summer, the duties would have been gone with the money-return order soon to be achieved.
Alas, there is also the political track. Just after the Tories won the election, they had a chance to recruit Liberal David Emerson. How to justify this? He was the softwood expert; we need him.
U.S. President George Bush soon picked up the phone and asked Prime Minister Stephen Harper if he wouldn't like to settle softwood, fast. He called us. After five years as president, he suddenly wants to settle?
Mr. Bush had good reasons, of course. Our legal fight was going against him. We finally had the U.S. in one of their own courts -- and they were losing. In addition, a Montana senator's seat was hanging on softwood. So, let's see if we can't hornswoggle the Canucks.
No problem. The inexperienced Harper administration seized the chance to brag that in only a couple of months it had been able to fix an issue the Libs couldn't solve for five years. And it would validate Emerson's sleazy jump to the Tories. As a result, they bought a deal so loaded in favour of the Americans it was arguably worse than the one the Martin government had turned down earlier.
Export taxes were to be imposed even higher than the old tariffs, and this has now been done. We were to be capped at 30 per cent of the U.S. market when the Liberals had negotiated 34 per cent. Sawmills are now closing in Eastern Canada, jobs lost in the thousands. There will be lots more.
The U.S. protectionist lobby is to be handed $500-million of our money to pay their lawyers and refill their coffers to attack us again. We will pay for our own thrashing, in a fight we would have won had our government had the guts to stand up to the Americans.
Bad deal? Never mind. On April 27, Mr. Harper told an astonished House of Commons the issue had been settled. At that very hour, American lawyers were filing papers to restart the legal process. The U.S. lied, and we said nothing. Without that betrayal, the very next day the final NAFTA decision would have kicked in and countervail duties would have ended at once.
Continuing the political track, industry holdouts remained -- so many that in desperation last week the two governments jointly appealed to the U.S. court to dissolve everything on the basis it had never happened. We stipulated the U.S. had never done anything illegal, destroying five years' worth of legal victories and our shield against future harassment. And yet, immediately thereafter came the "return the money" order from the CIT.
So now we have those ongoing duties and a gutted NAFTA, plus supervision of much of our forest law by Washington. Kind of makes you proud to be an allegedly sovereign Canadian, doesn't it?
But there are still potholes on this road of shame. The legal situation remains murky and our industry may yet manage to exploit it. And a guaranteed way out lies in the Canadian Senate.
The tax legislation required to implement the Sellout Agreement requires consent of the Liberal-dominated Senate. That body should hold the necessary hearings to reveal the whole rotten story. A Senate defeat of the agreement would force an election on the issue. Good idea. Forestry and sovereign self-respect are so basic it would be a fitting topic.
ggibson@bc-home.com
 
#juan
No Party Affiliation
#2
The softwood giveaway by the conservatives should have been predictable. Every conservative government after Diefenbaker has given away the farm. NAFTA is just one example. The softwood lumber issue is made even more damaging by the shipping of Canadian raw logs to the U.S. that allow the American sawmills to use our own logs against us.
 
Karlin
#3
I heard this yesterday, no referances available [or needed?] -
Bush says to PM Harper that IF Harper will send Canadian fighting troops into Afghanistan, Bush will see to it that some kind of softwood agreement will happen. Maybe it hinges on how many Taliban we kill.

Harper got screwed by that deal in that the Americans are not going to refund all the money of ours that they have.Maybe we didn't kill enough Taliban.

Canadians got screwed by the Afghan committment because it is not a winnable war and our troops are dying while killing Taliban.

PS - are we really so sure that the Taliban should be killed? Are we really so sure of the 9/11 details and the whole War on Terrorism that we can just declare these Taliban men shall die? Even Hamid Karzai, Pres of Afghanistan, said that the Taliban are good men, they are fathers and they are needed just as any nation needs its male adults.
Aside from that, every Afghan male could be a Taliban - in Pakistan they are mainstream society. Not all of the Taliban are killing Americans, but those that do are certainly justified in trying to rid their nation of foreign invaders.
 
CDNBear
#4
But our stumpage fees are so low, they appear to be subsidised by the Government. That is the contention of the American softwood industry.

Quite frankly, I agree. The governemnt has approved a border charge, the merely reflects the imbalance.
 
#juan
No Party Affiliation
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by CDNBear View Post

But our stumpage fees are so low, they appear to be subsidised by the Government. That is the contention of the American softwood industry.

Quite frankly, I agree. The governemnt has approved a border charge, the merely reflects the imbalance.

Where is it written that Canada has to be run exactly like the U.S.? Our system is different, and it always has been. Our rate of re-planting of trees is twice that of the U.S.. We pay higher taxes than the U.S.. Now the highest trade court in the U.S. has said that the duties charged by the U.S. were a hundred percent illegal. This was a swindle, and we are the swindlees.
 
CDNBear
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by #juan View Post

Where is it written that Canada has to be run exactly like the U.S.? Our system is different, and it always has been. Our rate of re-planting of trees is twice that of the U.S.. We pay higher taxes than the U.S.. Now the highest trade court in the U.S. has said that the duties charged by the U.S. were a hundred percent illegal. This was a swindle, and we are the swindlees.


You are correct, I just want to give you the American's side of the arguement. We all know our position, sometimes it's nice to hear from the other side of the fence.

It is not so much a different system as it is corparate welfare. I say let the Canadian Softwood Industry sink or swim on it's own. If there is a market for it(which there is), then some one will build a better tree trap. Why should we pay for companies to survive in a free market? I'ld prefer to have lower taxes and higher stumpage fees.
 
MikeyDB
#7
Can someone remind me what the final dollar figure was in relation to exactly how much the recent Liberal government funnelled into the Liberal Party and the pockets of some good friends?

A billion vs. whatever that amount might be.....

Sounds like fine fiscal policies to me........

Canada....heh heh....
 
#juan
No Party Affiliation
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by CDNBear View Post

You are correct, I just want to give you the American's side of the arguement. We all know our position, sometimes it's nice to hear from the other side of the fence.

It is not so much a different system as it is corparate welfare. I say let the Canadian Softwood Industry sink or swim on it's own. If there is a market for it(which there is), then some one will build a better tree trap. Why should we pay for companies to survive in a free market? I'ld prefer to have lower taxes and higher stumpage fees.

Tell me, is it corporate welfare when the Americans give the unrefunded money from the illegal duties to the American lumber companies? When they use our own money to subsidize American lumber companies, do you consider that to be fair? I think I would like to see the American lumber companies sink or swim without having their government take care of them. To revert back to high school mentality, "They started it".
 
CDNBear
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by #juan View Post

Tell me, is it corporate welfare when the Americans give the unrefunded money from the illegal duties to the American lumber companies? When they use our own money to subsidize American lumber companies, do you consider that to be fair? I think I would like to see the American lumber companies sink or swim without having their government take care of them. To revert back to high school mentality, "They started it".


I'm not sure how to resond to that, I'm pondering, whether you were serious or just kidding.

I really have no more to add to this, other then, I believe in a fair and open playing field for business. I guess my views are jaded by the fact that I see powerful businessmen get handouts, while small businessmen/women, get the ruff ride. We as the littel guys, have to tread water like there's no tomorrow. But anytime big business squeaks, "hey we're losing money, we're gunna fold" the Government hands them some cash.

Now, I now they employ a greater number of people, but something will fill its place, something that might survive on its own, a better mouse trap, as it were.

If you want to take my points as defence of the American's, so beit, but all I was doing, was pointing out their side.
Last edited by CDNBear; Oct 20th, 2006 at 05:24 PM..
 
MikeyDB
#10
No Juan it's Fraud and a fraud perpetrated by government sleeping with big industry.

The result of the fraud is theft in terms of the Canadian dollars feeding American families instead of feeding Canadian families but when you're a wealthy lumberjack to begin with....well it's not all that important what anyone else thinks....who ends up with the money.....

Whiners whine people prepared to stand-up for themselves become pro-active.
 
#juan
No Party Affiliation
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by CDNBear View Post

I'm not sure how to resond to that, I'm pondering, whether you were serious or just kidding.

I really have no more to add to this, other then, I believe in a fair and open playing field for business. I guess my views are jaded by the fact that I see powerful businessmen get handouts, while small businessmen/women, get the ruff ride. We as the littel guys, have to tread water like there's no tomorrow. But anytime big business squeaks, "hey we're losing money, we're gunna fold" the Government hands them some cash.

Now, I now they employ a greater number of people, but something will fill its place, something that might survive on its own, a better mouse trap, as it were.

If you want to take my points as defence of the American's, so beit, but all I was doing, was pointing out their side.

I know you were. I think I've got an attitude problem with this whole subject. NAFTA is a sham when one party can make up rules as they go along. When the various trade courts are ignored, it is bullying pure and simple. It could well be that the deal that Harper got was the best deal we could get. We don't have to like it.
 
BigBen
#12
$4B is better alot than nothing, and that's what we would've got without an agreement.
 
CDNBear
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by #juan View Post

I know you were. I think I've got an attitude problem with this whole subject. NAFTA is a sham when one party can make up rules as they go along. When the various trade courts are ignored, it is bullying pure and simple. It could well be that the deal that Harper got was the best deal we could get. We don't have to like it.

A raw deal for sure. I'm not much happy with being the fat kid at the ball game either. The liberals didn't help with their constant anti American whiny crap. Do I think the US was pulling our pants down because of the tone from Ottawa? Oh you bet.

They acted in their own best interest as well. I still have no idea where they get off ignoring a court ruling though. But, I the lads in Ottawa had their collective eyes on the ball, they should have threatend to withdraw from the agreement.
 
elevennevele
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by CDNBear View Post

A raw deal for sure. I'm not much happy with being the fat kid at the ball game either. The liberals didn't help with their constant anti American whiny crap. Do I think the US was pulling our pants down because of the tone from Ottawa? Oh you bet.



The US also gave the previous government a hard time because it's party didn't involve us in Iraq. That is a big one if you ask me when we speak of government relations. Harper would have said yes. Who knows, he might have even put an extension on an Iraq mission (more on our military burdens of being currently over stretched in Afganistan later).

And to put it in perspective, I really didn't see relations all that bad with the US presidency before Bush (and post other Republican Presidencies). I've also noticed the US Republicans tend to tactically lend support to the politics and parties in another country that they can influence, and/or which is aligned with their ideologies even at the cost of ignoring for the most respect the leading party of that country itself.

Basically they will play partisan politics within our borders as far as they can push it without it being too apparent for a resulting backlash. We tend to know to mind our own business in their political party affairs but rather just deal with the current leadership.

I don't like the idea of any political think tanks or groups having sessions with our politicians in how to gain voter support. I wouldn’t like either Democrat or Republican think tanks influencing outcomes here. It is however a documented fact that this current Harper government has met with right-wing political think tanks from the USA. It honestly should make a Canadian feel uneasy.

No doubt about it that I will honestly admit that I care about Canada more than I care about the USA. I should. I'm a Canadian. So if anybody thinks that US political think tanks come over here thinking about our country first, you are a sucker. Just like me, they would love their country more than ours and so you really have to wonder what interests are they really trying to influence towards. Harper just gave them a billion $ when it comes to our lumber.

And back to that US administration/Liberal friction; whatever can be said of Chretien, the one good thing he did was — when we were asked to join in the Iraq War, he said, "No."



Quote:

Stephen Harper's 1997 speech to right-wing U.S. think tank

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNew...1214/20051214/


First, facts about Canada. Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it. Canadians make no connection between the fact that they are a Northern European welfare state and the fact that we have very low economic growth, a standard of living substantially lower than yours, a massive brain drain of young professionals to your country, and double the unemployment rate of the United States.

In terms of the unemployed, of which we have over a million-and-a-half, don't feel particularly bad for many of these people. They don't feel bad about it themselves, as long as they're receiving generous social assistance and unemployment insurance.


Here Harper openly shows contempt for his own fellow Canadians to a speech to a right-wing US think tank. And yet now he has taken over a government of economic surpluses thanks to the economic policies of the Liberals who also had been paying off our debt. I don't think we as Canadians deserved this type of remark in comparison to the United States and comparatively, I like it better on this side of the fence.
 

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