US Trade war heats up

Update 1The BBC has more on the various countries involved in the dispute.

Here’s the BBC Report.

Things took a turn for the worse today in the ongoing, and varied, trade wars between various countries and the US.

The WTO has ruled that some US anti-dumping laws (the Byrd Amendment in particular) are illegal. Apparently this could lead to sanctions against the US amounting to more than $150 million per year.

This hits close to home for me because of the ongoing softwood lumber dispute between the US and Canada. The US has imposed duties on Canadian lumber that have meant about $3 billion lost to those duties from Canadian companies… dozens of mills closed and thousands of jobs lost in British Columbia over the past few years.

The Byrd Amendment allows for a portion of those duties to go to American companies… which is obviously totally innapropriate, and that is what the WTO, and NAFTA has ruled against (multiple times, and again today).

The really odd thing is these duties are potentially hurting American consumers as well. The US cannot produce enough lumber for the US Market… and its’ largest importer is Canada, so these duties have meant higher retail prices for US consumers buying lumber products.

There was a time a few months ago when it looked like the softwood lumber issue was close to a settlement… but now it doesn’t look so good… and it in fact looks like an all out trade war could start between Canada and the US.

Which is very bad for both sides.

Hopefully cooler heads will prevail.

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