01 September 2005

Chuztpah Alert

This is a little off topic for me, but it relates to Hurricane Katrina and the need for lumber products to rebuild the affected areas. As reported by the Canadian Press, US housing advocates want lumber tariffs on Canadian software lumber dropped to decrease the price of homes. The debate on the legality of the tariffs under NAFTA is ongoing, with the NAFTA panels siding with Canada and the WTO with the USA. The US lumber lobby, who benefit from the tariffs under the Byrd anti-dumping legislation, disagrees with any drop of the tariffs:

A spokesman for the U.S. lumber lobby, meanwhile, said Canadian producers should be exempted from those punitive softwood duties - but only on free lumber donated to the rebuilding effort in Louisiana and Mississippi.

"If Canada wants to do the humanitarian aid and donate their lumber, there would be no duty on free lumber," Scott Shotwell, a spokesman for the protectionist Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports, said in an interview from Washington.

I'd just like to say, it's uncommonly generous of US lumber industries to agree not to tax donated lumber. They wouldn't want anyone to think that they are going to try to profiteer from the expected rise in lumber prices from the rebuilding efforts.

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