Canada warns of trade actions against US
07 May 2017 - 9:32
TRENTON, Ont.: The government of Canada has threatened to retaliate against U.S.-imposed tariffs on imports of softwood lumber, Canadian media reported Friday.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau informed British Columbia (B.C.) Premier Christy Clark in a letter that he was considering her call for a ban on thermal coal exports, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
Clark, whose province is big on softwood lumber and who is campaigning for reelection, was delighted with Trudeau’s letter that came after she suggested Canada hit back at the U.S. tariffs by charging duties on thermal coal.
“I would like to thank Prime Minister Trudeau for his quick action to look at banning thermal coal exports through British Columbia and his commitment to stand up for B.C. and Canadian forest workers,” she said in a statement.
About 94 percent of thermal coal is shipped from the U.S. through B.C. and bound for Asia where it is used in electrical generation.
Trudeau also indicated that duties might be enacted against Oregon industries, the Canadian Press wire service reported.
Oregon is the home state of Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden, who has been an ardent supporter of the Canadian softwood tariffs.
The U.S. last month accused the Canadian government of subsidizing the softwood lumber industry and imposed tariffs as high as 20 percent.
But the Canadian government disputes those charges and is investigating several Oregon industries that may be receiving U.S. subsidies, including the plywood, flooring, wood chips and wine sectors, CTV News reported.
Meanwhile, several American bed-frame manufacturers that rely on Canadian softwood lumber say the tariffs will cost thousands of American jobs unless manufacturers are exempted from the duties, CityNews Toronto reported.
The bed-makers say the Canadian wood, a product of colder climates, has small knots and fine grain that are best for mattress frames.
“Disruptions, even if temporary, will eliminate jobs in the U.S. and damage the financial stability of the U.S. mattress manufacturing base,” Stephen McLaughlin, vice-president of global sourcing for Kentucky-based Tempur-Pedic, wrote in a letter. Similar letters from other companies were posted on the U.S. Commerce Department’s website, CityNews reported.
Canadian sources told Canadian Press the best way to stop the growing trade war would be to reach a long-term deal of softwood lumber, with no tariffs.