“Today, we’ve learned the lessons of history,” President Obama said yesterday in London, sounding like the staunchest free-marketer denouncing the government’s protectionist response in 1930, which deeply worsened the Great Depression.
“We have rejected the protectionism that could deepen this crisis,” he said. “History tells us that turning inward can help turn a downturn into a depression.”
United States Imposes Tariffs on Softwood Lumber from Four Canadian Provinces Due to Canada’s Failure to Comply with the Softwood Lumber Agreement
WASHINGTON, D.C. – United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk today announced that the United States is imposing 10 percent ad valorem customs duties on imports of softwood lumber products from four Canadian provinces (Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan). The United States is exercising its right to take this action in response to Canada’s failure to cure a breach of the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement between the United States and Canada (SLA) and failure to impose the compensatory measures determined by the Tribunal. These duties will remain in place until such time as the United States has collected $54.8 million.
Bush imposed tariffs on Canadian lumber, too. Early in his first term, Cato’s Brink Lindsey and Mark Groombridge urged him to drop our ongoing lumber dispute with Canada. They pointed out the de minimis nature of Canada’s subsidies to its local loggers and the high costs that tariffs imposed on U.S. timber-using industries. Bush didn’t listen, and now it looks like Obama will pursue the same bad policy.