Monday, April 24, 2017

Mr Trump takes an axe to Canadian lumber and a shot at the dairy industry

Softwood Talks 20160818

Twenty-five New Brunswick sawmills owned by 14 companies will be affected if the United States imposes a duty on Canadian softwood lumber, according to the provincial government.
But the government announced Friday it intends to fight for exclusion from border duties on softwood lumber and last month set up a task force with representatives from 11 departments to look at what can be done to mitigate the effects of any duty.
The U.S. Department of Commerce is expected to announce as early as Tuesday a decision on levying duties against Canadian softwood lumber imports. The duties are predicted to be between 20 and 40 per cent.
Treasury board president John Melanson contends the New Brunswick exclusion on softwood duties works for companies on both sides of the border.
"Our businesses here are partners with businesses in the U.S.," he said. "It creates jobs here and jobs in the U.S".
Melanson is confident the Trump administration will agree once the facts about lumber are laid out.
"I can tell you, at the state level, I've been going to the state of Massachusetts and Maine … they get it," he said. "They understand what's going on and they are also advocating, we hope, the benefits of what we're talking about here today, to Washington."
The forestry industry contributes more than $1.45 billion to the provincial economy each year and employs more than 22,000 New Brunswickers, the government said.
"The softwood lumber industry is a valued and important part of the New Brunswick economy," said Energy and Resource Development Minister Rick Doucet.

Dairy farmers in New Brunswick and the rest of the country are rejecting U.S. President Donald Trump's claims that the Canadian dairy industry is to blame for setbacks experienced by dairy farmers south of the border, particularly in New York and Wisconsin.
While speaking in Wisconsin  last week – the heart of dairy country in the U.S. – Trump called trade rules on dairy between the two countries a "complete and total disaster" for the U.S., saying Canada's dairy supply management system is a "one-sided deal" that doesn't let U.S. farmers compete fairly.
A growing trade war between the two countries has been brewing in recent months over one particular product — ultra-filtered milk, which is used in the production of cheese. Last year, Canadian processors started buying ultra-filtered milk from
domestic suppliers at competitive prices, reducing the demand for the U.S. product.
About 70 producers in Wisconsin and New York affected by the change have been struggling since, and have lobbied the U.S. government for action.
Reint Dykstra, a Canadian dairy farmer of 30 years  believes it's over-production of milk that's to blame, not Canada.
"It's easy to point fingers to certain areas," he said. "I think it's the total overproduction of milk that is happening around the world, which is also one of the reasons we have seen a drop in our returns as well."
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Dairy Farmers of New Brunswick, Paul Gaunce, believes the current trade agreement works well for both Canada and the U.S., rejecting's Trump's view it's a one-sided deal.
He finds it hard to believe drastic changes would come about, adding he's confident the federal government will continue to defend the interests of Canadian dairy farmers.

David MacNaughton, Canada's ambassador to the U.S., was in Fredericton Wednesday, part of a country-wide trip briefing provincial cabinets about trade issues in the dairy and lumber industries and other possible sticking points in our trade dealings with the US.
Despite the tough talk, he said the relationship with the new Trump administration has been extremely positive, and his office will continue to work on finding solutions to disputes.
"I think what we've got to really reinforce with the Americans is that our prosperity is intricately tied together," said MacNaughton. "Having trade disputes, I mean, we're always going to have little things we have disagreements about.
"But this relationship is unique in the world. It's the biggest trading relationship in the world, it works extremely well, and I hope that we can work together to try and solve these problems, which is what our goal is, and I think that's what we'll be trying to do."

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