Commerce Secretary Ross Wants NAFTA Renegotiation by January

June 1, 2017  |  No Comments  |  by Nicole àBeckett  |  Blog

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross indicated Wednesday that the best time period to complete the North American Free Trade Agreement’s negotiation is by early January. By setting this window, the Trump Administration hopes to have the renegotiation done before both Mexico’s general elections and the 2018 U.S. Congressional elections (Reuters).

According to Ross, Mexico’s elections will make the approval of NAFTA more complicated because it needs Mexican congressional approval. Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo also urged for a final deal by the end of this year (Bloomberg). In the U.S., presidential powers to negotiate trade deals that can accepted or rejected by Congress without amendments expires in July 2018, justifying the urgency of the Trump Administration

Ross also said Wednesday that the Commerce Department would impose anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on Mexican sugar and Canadian softwood lumber as part of the renegotiations if settlements over the disputes are not achieved. The Mexican government subsidies sugar companies and Canadian lumber producers utilize government-owned land to produce, making it difficult for U.S. competitors to compete in both industries. Ross hopes to resolve both of these issues before the official modernization of NAFTA.

NAFTA negotiations will formally begin around August 16, following a 90-day period of domestic consultations with U.S. lawmakers, industry, and the public.

Stay up to date with all trade news, including updates on NAFTA, by following Mercatura Global on Twitter. As an advocate of free trade, Mercatura Global can counsel your company on how best to enter international markets and increase your export revenue. To develop your market entry strategy and identify strategic partners, contact Mercatura Global today.

Will New Tariffs on Canadian Softwood Lumber Cause U.S.-Canada Trade War?

April 26, 2017  |  No Comments  |  by Nicole àBeckett  |  Blog

On Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump announced an increase in tariffs from 3% to 24% on softwood lumber imports from Canada. Most lumber companies in Canada are state-owned and subsidized by the Canadian government, and the U.S.-Canada dispute over softwood lumber is decades old (The New York Times). American mills recently filed a complaint, and the U.S. Commerce department responded by imposing a tariff equivalent to the subsidy amount (24%) on five Canadian companies. For all other Canadian lumber companies, the tariff rate was set at 20%.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross claimed it had been a “bad week for U.S.-Canada trade relations.” This statement also reflects President Trump’s complaints about Canada’s system of protections on its dairy industry, leading to unfair treatment of American dairy farm workers.

Both softwood lumber and the dairy industry were left out of the initial North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, so it is easy for the U.S. to bring up the issues without formal negotiations (Reuters).

In Canada, the country is considering some sort of aid package to the companies that will be hit by the tariff (Bloomberg). In Quebec, 60,000 people work in the forest-products industry, and the province is putting in place a program of loan and loan guarantees that is expected to be worth 300 million Canadian dollars.

In the past, disputes around the softwood lumber industry were always won be Canada. However, if it becomes a legal fight, it is likely that the process will take a few years to be settled. Stay up to date with current U.S.-Canada trade relations by following Mercatura Global on Twitter.

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