The Real Danger Facing America — Softwood Imports from Canada

In the wake of the September 11 attacks, the Bush administration took action in October to rid America of the scourge of softwood imports from Canada. On Halloween night, the Bush administration imposed 12.58 percent “anti-dumping” duty on top of an already announced 19.31 percent “countervailing duty” which was levied in August. What’s the problem here? The Bush administration thinks Canadian companies aren’t charging enough for softwood.

This from the same Bush administration that was recently claiming it absolutely had to have Fast Track authority to negotiate free trade agreements. Why does the United States need more free trade agreements, when it is not even interested in living up to the one it signed with its northern neighbor?

The main beneficiaries of the new tariffs will be the U.S. lumber industry. After decades of haranguing the government for subsidies and cheap rights to federal lands, the lumber industry had the gall to complain that the Canadian lumber was excessively subsidized — a claim that the World Trade Organization has investigated twice and found baseless.

The main victims of the new tariffs will be the Canadian lumber industry and the American consumer who will end up being socked with additional costs far in excess of the benefits garnered by the timber industry.

How does George W. Bush expect anyone to take him seriously as a free trader and a person who “trust the American people” when his administration can’t even stomach Americans freely trading with Canada? Apparently those donations from the timber industry count more than the votes from the people Bush supposedly trusted.


Costs of the softwood tariff. David N. Laband and Daowei Zhang, Mises Institute, November 21, 2001.

Leave a Reply