Thursday, September 08, 2005

Softwood lumber dispute

THe new US Ambassador, David Wilkins met with business leaders in Vancouver and insisted that the settlement of the softwood issue between the US and Canada has to come down to a negotiated settlement. A quick update, the US has imposed and collected duties of US$5b since the end of a negotiated agreement between Canada and the US a few years ago. Subsequent legal and trade resolutions under various trade agreements including NAFTA and international trade tribunals had resulted in rulings that declared the collection of these duties as illegal and that the duties should be returned to Canada.

One of Wilkins' comments was "Friends negotiated, they don't retaliate" which almost choked me. Now, the US (the "friend") has taken US$5b in illegal duties and basically refuses to return the money instead is willing to return a negotiated amount. This is like a "friend" who took your winning lottery ticket and said "I will give you $2m of the $10m jackpot because I'm your friend" or a "friend" who took your money and only willing to pay you back some negotiated amount because he is a "friend".

Get with the program, Wilkins! Your US Administration collected illegal dues and have been caught but instead of returning the money, you decided to be a "friend" (I would define you as the bully) and want to negotiate an amount to return. Let me tell you, a friend would do the right thing, apologize and return the money (with interest!).

No comments: