Find them, fix them and then destroy them.

In general, you arrive in an open conflict situation in one of three ways. Someone unexpectedly comes after you, someone you were expecting to come after you does so or you decide to to go after someone yourself. The term conflict situation as used here covers all the sins; interpersonal strife, business rivalry, trade wars and plain old war, but the essential rules of them all are the same.

In the first case, it’s a failure of perception on your part as to the aggressor’s true intentions and all that can be done is something along the lines of the best defense is a good immediate attack, but only as a holding action until you can come up with something more assured of success.

In the second case, whatever planned response you have swings into action. If your plan was sound, it should succeed as you designed it to do. Sometimes, what was originally a good planned response can fail because it hasn’t been updated to reflect changing circumstances while it’s been waiting in readiness. Like the von Schlieffen plan, it’s gathered too much dust.

The third case is by far the easiest to plan for because it always gives you first mover advantage, irrespective of whether the other party was expecting it or not. You consider their range of possible responses to your move and if they have a winning riposte, then it’s a bad plan. Pick your fight in cold blood, pick the ground and fight only when you know you’ll win. You roll the plan, execute your counter-responses to their anticipated responses and all should be well, but as the saying goes – the first casualty of war is always the plan.

The advice laid out by Niccolò Machiavelli in his slim volume the Prince is just as sound today as it was in the Renaissance; only go to war if there’s no other sensible option, but if you must, you must crush your enemy completely. There must be no doubt about who won and no chance of them ever coming back at you. What he’s saying is be quick and completely ruthless, because a war situation is the one circumstance when you’ll have a minimum amount of control over inherently unpredictable events. You can get a free copy of The Prince at Project Gutenberg.

Trump became president by appealing to a middle America that had largely been ignored by both the Republican and Democrat establishment. A key promise he made was to keep jobs in America and stop domestic industries being destroyed because they couldn’t match on price imported foreign goods that were one way or another being subsidised.

Repeatedly while he was campaigning, and again within the first week of his administration, he said to firms intending to shift manufacturing jobs off shore for reasons of economy – do it if you want, but I’ll slap an import charge on any of those goods coming into America. A lot of tentative plans were suddenly shelved and in the following months nearly a hundred thousand American workers on top of what was expected came off support and back into the jobs market. It was a good solid quick win but with more in the area of large-scale public works programs to come.

On the imports front, he needed to lay down a marker to foreign exporters to America that the old days of dumping subsidised goods until domestic manufacturers went under, and then being able to hike their prices in the face of no local price opposition were over. There was no point in taking on all the transgressors at once and potentially kicking off a trade war with the whole world when all he had to do was pick someone out to make a very public example of. Harking back to Machiavelli, one he was sure to beat and one he could completely crush should that become necessary.

Canada, under the stylish but weak leadership of Justin Trudeau, fitted that bill exactly.

There’d been a long running dispute with Canada about exporting subsided timber into America and seriously damaging the American lumber industry. As usual, Obama, who ran away from any real conflict every time and never appeared to give a damn about the American working man anyway, had been fronted down and the situation stayed as it was for yet another eight years.

After Trump’s inauguration, when some fresh impetuous was injected into the discussions, the Canadian trade negotiators appear to have assumed Trump was going to be the doormat that Obama had been, so they were perfect to be the wake up call to everyone else in the world about exporting subsidised goods into America. They were about to find out there was a new sheriff in town.

Hands up anyone who even knew such a dispute existed?

Towards the end of April, the Trump administration announced it intended to levy a 20% tariff on Canadian softwood lumber imports, and since they had previously given ninety days grace for the situation to be addressed and nothing had been done, it was to be charged retrospectively. Consideration was also being made to doing the same to dairy products, since substantially the same grievance existed in that area.

A typical Trump move – an unexpected first strike to which the range of responses were all limited and all would be to his advantage. It’s what’s called a mini-max strategy in games theory. The maximum amount of return for a minimum amount of risk. Trudeau had a choice between three rational responses to make.

The first was to remove the offending subsidies so everyone would be competing on a level playing field. It’s doable and eminently saleable to his domestic timber industry because it’s a case of get on with your business without the subsidies or lose a five billion Canadian dollar export business into America. They’d had a good run while it lasted, and it had lasted since the nineteen-eighties.

The second only came into play if he couldn’t get the local lumber business to see sense. Bite the bullet. Accept the tariff with no retaliation despite some domestic whining, just to take the fire out of a potential trade war looming with the economic giant living next door.

Either of those choices would be quick wins for Trump, sending the required message to outsiders he was prepared to close America to their business using tariffs if they persistently abused the spirit of international free trade agreements as Canada had been doing. More importantly, it was also sending a message to American workers that their industries and jobs would be protected from outsiders by his administration, just as he’d promised.

For Trudeau, an unwinnable and damaging trade war would be averted, and that would be that.

The third choice would be to retaliate on some kind of tit for tat basis on a selection of other American goods coming into Canada by imposing import tariffs. Of the three options available, this one is by far the worst choice for a number of reasons.

For starters, Trump would simply ante up, add more tariffs on other Canadian goods and keep on doing so until Trudeau crumbled, which would happen relatively quickly. America has more options in terms of consumer markets than Canada. Their domestic market itself is massive and they have road and rail access to the South American ones. Canada on the other hand, has only the one huge market next door on which it’s totally dependent, and if cut off from it will quickly go into severe economic recession. Transporting all goods by ship for sale abroad simply isn’t financially feasible.

Any shortage in commodities formerly imported from Canada could easily be addressed by ramping up domestic production, since none of those commodities can’t already be found in America. This of course would be good for American employment.

It’s unwinnable and having won, there’s nothing to stop the winner dictating the terms of the armistice to get things back onto a normal footing. And they will too, because to the victor always go the spoils. Yet again, Trump has chosen the opponent, the ground the battle is to be fought on and put them into another Zugzwang situation. There are no good counter moves for them to make, just the least damaging.

If that analysis sounds simplistic and brutal, that’s the way disputes between countries mostly work when you strip off the diplomatic veneer of nice words. Whether it’s fair or not, small countries with a much bigger neighbour must necessarily come to accommodations that are not always in their favour.

Does Trump think in this fashion? Yes, obviously so. If you consider his habits, he always seizes the initiative and then quickly and ruthlessly exploits the breakthrough and resulting confusion of his opponents to reach his goal. I recognise that pattern.

All his impressionable teenage years until college were spent in a military academy where though they may teach you how to march up and down, you also come out with a good grounding in the art of war. By all accounts, he took to it and was good at it too, finishing his senior year as class captain. In the end, the so-called art of war comes down to three simple things – find them, fix them and then destroy them, though the third term is usually expressed as “fuck them up” in less polite circles.

Trudeau, being the not so bright golden boy of what was hoped to be a glittering political dynasty by the Left, of course went for the third and worst option of tit for tat. This course of action if pursued will prove to be a complete disaster for him. Just as the first two would be quick wins for Trump, this is the slow but bigger win for him and as usual several collateral benefits magically accrue.

Trudeau is threatening in retaliation to slap some import tariffs on various incoming American goods but most intriguingly has announced he’s seriously considering a ban on all exports of thermal coal to America. The tariff retaliation was to be expected but the threat to cut off any sort of coal supply is an unexpected gift to Trump.

It’s a perfect example of how a bad situation can be made even worse because it’s an inducement for Trump to make damn sure this trade dispute isn’t settled or at least drags on for as long as possible, but if ever settled will now be to the detriment of the Canadian coal industry, never mind the lumberjacks. At a stroke, Trudeau has just enlarged his problems horribly. It all depends on what Trump decides to do next.

Some background information about the state of the coal mining industry in America is in order at this point. Obama spent eight years driving the coal business into the ground using the EPA to regulate it out of existence and while it may have earned him great kudos with the liberal elites, it caused great economic hardship in small mining communities in places like Kentucky where once the mine closed, there was precious little else in the way of work.

Trump on his election sweep through mining states like Virginia and Pennsylvania promised he’d get the mines opened again and the men back to work. This is perhaps a chance to kick start those communities back into life by using Trudeau’s threat to cut off coal supplies as an excuse to giving priority to reviving coal mining in them.

As president, he can quite validly act on the threat of a commodity embargo by a foreign country, irrespective of whether it’ll ever realistically happen or not. Any foreigner holding a gun to America’s head and making threats is an easy sale to the voter who’ll naturally support some sort of muscular reaction.

By assuring investors that the regulatory stranglehold has gone with him gutting the EPA, discarding whatever remaining regulations they still don’t like and adding in a few taxbreaks, he can line up the private finance. Also, by keeping Canadian coal out of the domestic market, demand will rise with a corresponding hike in the price making new investment in mining a very attractive proposition.

It’d just be a matter of stringing along the Canadians for a change or forcing a settlement that left their coal exports to America severely curtailed. That would be the Art of the Deal 101 for Trump.

If the situation is allowed to develop in that direction and Trump manages to breath life back into the mining communities of Virginia and Kentucky, he’ll own the blue collar vote across America as well as getting sung about in those communities years after he’s gone.

The exact long term results of this trade dispute depend only on how long it is allowed to run but how it will end is a foregone conclusion. The short to medium reactions are all predictable and as usual they all just happen to work out in Trump’s favour.

He’s just so lucky with his decisions.

The legacy media will go into frothing at the mouth overdrive lying its head off in all directions, denouncing him for starting a trade war that could bring about the end of the world economy, if not civilisation itself. Trump will ignore them and as usual continue bypassing them by communicating directly to the electorate using his twitter feed and weekly video broadcasts from the White House.

The Democrats will go full on outrage, stomp in and out of the chamber, muttering aloud about the end of the Republic, while carefully avoiding subpoenas as they dodge their way between the increasing number of congressional investigations turning over rocks and looking down onto the corruption and excesses of the Obama regime scuttling out of the light of day.

The old Republican dinosaurs like John McCain, lunging pathetically after one last fading hurrah into the limelight, will go on TV and thunderously denounce his behaviour as reckless in their best jowly elder statesman manner, but he’ll ignore them too since everyone in politics knows the term “elder statesman” means a melange of somebody who’s either dotty, put out to pasture or became politically irrelevant thirty years ago.

At some point, Trudeau will finally realise he can’t win and start to play the David being bullied by Goliath card, expecting world opinion to rush to his aid and sweep him up into its protective arms while warding off that nasty Mr. Trump. Never going to happen Tonto. If it reaches that stage, not only will Trump have no intention of backing off, he’ll fully intend to crush you in public, and he will. Making an example of someone is after all the whole point of the exercise, so the more lurid, the better.

The latest ecumenical conclave of economists will denounce Trump as making a laughing stock of the upcoming NAFTA discussions, but since Trump hates that agreement, which he calls with some justification the worst deal in American history, using this trade tiff with Canada to shatter it into a million pieces somehow works very well for him.

If you haven’t seen it yet, on this dispute or another one he’ll pick, this was always his ultimate goal.

The American businesses effected will make some careful noises of optimistic support for Trump while the result of the dispute seems to be hanging in the balance, but inside they’ll know very well who’s going to win the tussle and in the long term who’ll be the money winners. It’s meeee, meeee, yipeee!

As if by magic, a lot of other perennially stalled trade disputes with other countries over subsidised goods being shipped into America are suddenly going to start making real progress, because they now most assuredly know what’ll happen if they don’t.

Trump will win, the only question being how far Trudeau is allowed to self-immolate Canada before older and wiser heads up there intervene and take that decision out of his hands. He’ll be a loser, as will be the lying press, the Democrats and the Republican dinosaurs. Their stock and therefore influence will plummet even further with the electorate and his will rise accordingly.

The big long term winner will be the American worker whose jobs this move is intended to protect from the ugly side of unrestricted globalisation.

Trump already looks to be an easy winner in next year’s mid-terms. The elements of that are all in place, the moving parts of a complex machine are already in motion and there’s a certain feeling of inevitability about the whole thing even at this early stage.

The DNC is continuing its current suicidal disintegration engulfed in a smog of conspiracy theories about the Russians being behind all their woes. Their traditional support base, which is still feeling ignored in favour of minority interests, is drifting steadily towards the Trump camp where things actually appear to get done.

The sleaze and corruption being uncovered by various congressional investigations into the Obama years is rotting out any residual trust in them and the violent anti-democratic movements like antifa are turning what is still an essentially conservative America against anything left-wing.

The media, or the real opposition as Steve Bannon called it, has been sidelined both by Trump and by itself through its own hysterical behaviour. It’s now commonly referred to as the lying press in which the ordinary person places little or no trust.

Additionally, when you factor in whatever little surprises like the seemingly innocuous Great Timber War of 2017 that Trump has up his sleeve, prospects are not good for the Democrats.

If Trump keeps on doing the basics of bringing home the bacon for middle and blue collar America like this, he’ll win big, and I mean very very big.

©Pointman

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Comments
34 Responses to “Find them, fix them and then destroy them.”
  1. johnrmcd says:

    Interesting analysis Pointman. You might very well be right. As an Australian with some years in Canada many years ago (and a Canadian/Australian son), I would like to think that you are correct and that the “beautiful” Justin gets it in the teeth.
    Let’s hope you’re right …

    Liked by 3 people

  2. philjourdan says:

    You seem to be a student of American politics, and a very astute one at that! I cannot find fault with any of your analysis, so will only post an anecdote in support of your statement about the press.

    Indeed, it was Obama and Merkel who created the meme of “fake news”, which the lying press immediately pounced upon – trying to tar any source that was not in their corner with it. But they quickly found it being turned back on them (much as the term Deplorables was turned back on Hillary). So much so that the NY Times stated they will no longer use the term. But it is too late.

    The term is embedded and in use, and being used against the press. Trump was given a gift from Obama (and Merkel) on that one, and he had but to let the idiots hang themselves with it, which they did.

    The yelling from the press is a response to that. It is impotent rage as they find out just how irrelevant they are.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Siamiam says:

    I didn’t raise my hand so I thought here goes a trade war. Little did I know.
    But the retaliation suggested is to tax coal in transit from the U.S. to Canadian coal ports in British Columbia. Don’t Know how Trump would respond.

    Like

    • james the deplorable disciple of kek says:

      No need to respond. Industry will just ship the coal from US ports. It’s the most idiotic solution to this thing I’ve ever heard. It’s so dumb in fact that Christie Clark is championing it which tells you all you need to know.

      Like

  4. Margaret Smith says:

    Thank you for another superb essay. Those of us focused on the climate scam were expecting an immediate rolling back of the nonsense but Trump is getting other stuff in place first – a timely reminder. His business and military acumen makes him a formidable opponent for full-time talkers interested only in power and money. Your logic is impeccable and I notice that, here in the UK, protests against Trump are not so prominent now – counterproductive?
    I tend to believe Assange when he says the leak of Hillary’s e-mails came from a Democrat fed up with the corruption in politics. Thanks again.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. mrmethane says:

    HIdden under the softwood lumber dispute is the major players’ super-high bids on timber rights, forcing out the little US players and creating an artificially high “market price”. They have tons of their own timber, whose value is enhanced by this practice as well. Canadian softwood rights are priced at more “normal” levels, and have the APPEARANCE of being subsidized. They’re just not inflated artificially like US company-owned rights.
    The dairy industry is totally different, and IS artificially skewed to protect Quebec dairy interests, and while Wisconsin (e.g.) capacity is vastly excessive, there is a fair case against the Canadian structure. Trudeau, with the coal move, was looking for any excuse to kill the industry in Canada, and this seemed like one he thought he could blame on someone else, namely the evil Trump. Canada is not in good hands, and we didn’t need to be bullied – we have an airhead in charge, or more accurately, an airhead under the influence of what might as well be a communist cabal.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Bob Smithers says:

      Indeed we are not in good hands with the Spawn of PET, a thoroughly unqualified tool, but a useful idiot for the back room gang of Power Corp and their tentacled interests.
      As far as softwood lumber, there is far less secondary manufacture than a generation ago, as a vast amount is shipped as raw logs, to American and Chinese ports. Methinks this is initial posturing by Trump, as the bigger prizes lay elsewhere, in the Poultry and Dairy industries, to name but two, that are terribly protected within Canada, where we pay exorbitantly for cheese, $8 pound. I welcome Trumps opening volley, it puts our crony industries and Spud(Trudeau Chinese nickname) on notice that he is not playing with his stoner pot crowd, or his selfie admirers.
      As far as coal shipping, that originated as a Hail Mary from Premier Clark, in her poorly fought provincial election strategy. It was a stupid move, designed solely to save her skin in a thinly veiled virtue signal to the enviro voters. No doubt, she will be replaced thanks to her poor showing (Allah willing, lol), but Spud picked up the ball, thinking it was a good strategy.
      Trump needs to go full throttle on this, sensible Canadians will understand, those who, follow every bit of propaganda in our own Mass Media, will hyperventilate and avoid the US, preferring such destinations as Cuba, Venezuela and other bastions of socialism. This will not work out well for Spud, but he needs to be taken to the woodshed and treated appropriately!
      We live in interesting times.

      Like

  6. Pointman says:

    http://www.economist.com/Trumptranscript

    “It sounds like you’re imagining a pretty big renegotiation of NAFTA. What would a fair NAFTA look like?
    Big isn’t a good enough word. Massive.

    Huge?
    It’s got to be. It’s got to be.

    What would it look like? What would a fair NAFTA look like?
    No, it’s gotta be. Otherwise we’re terminating NAFTA.”

    A very interesting read.

    Pointman

    Liked by 1 person

    • mrmethane says:

      Canada’s status in NAFTA is approximately balanced, no surplus, no deficit, with a lot of jobs on both sides of the border to everyone’s benefit.
      On a possibly related issue, Trudeau seems reluctant to even acknowledge our responsibilities toward NATO, let alone meet them. It wouldn’t surprise me if back-channels and maybe direct messaging are using trade as a stick to prod Trudeau into a better ante for NATO.
      Meanwhile, we in coastal BC suffer greatly from the softwood bullying and can look forward to other pressures from the leftist and green parties just elected in our province. As with the situation some years back, we can plummet from having the best economy in the country to having one of the worst. The natural resources providing so much of our revenue will succumb to red, green and “blue” pressures, within and without. Not a good time

      Liked by 2 people

      • Warren Bork says:

        Well put. I live in Lumbertown BC..Prince George. Trudeau is a buffoon of epic scale. There is very few, if any, markets where Canada can dictate anything to the US. The only one left standing may, MAY, be hydro-electric sales to California. Canada can’t seem to find it’s own ass with both hands. We are blessed with every single possible advantage any country could possess, but our leadership is so pathetically weak, we can’t even build a pipeline. We have every known mineral in abundance, oil, gas, hydro-electric power, fishing, technology, manufacturing, agriculture, forestry….. we have it all. What is WRONG WITH US? Why can’t Canadians see with their own eyes that this country should rightfully be one of the most powerful countries on earth if we just pull our heads out of our own ass! Why do we insist on being less than mediocre? Why can’t we, as a nation, put on our hard hat, work boots and gloves and develop the gifts we possess in massive abundance? We can’t build ships for our navy, can’t purchase helicopters for SAR, can’t meet our NATO commitments, can’t replace 50+ yr old ice breakers, Why do we CHOSE to fail? As a nation, we continually chose failure over success. It’s a pattern I believe that started back in the days of the cancellation of the Arrow… Canadians have just gotten comfortable being third-best, inadequate, puffing up our chests when we get a ‘Bronze’… Oh, but we can win at hockey… sometimes…Right? Stop electing milquetoast leaders and insist we develop our national treasure to the maximum. Maybe our currency will be worth more than a Mexican Peso one day. Expect MORE from all levels of government… we pay more than enough taxes that we should expect better performance from all of them.

        Like

    • philjourdan says:

      Yuge! And Bigly!

      Like

  7. Keitho says:

    Good stuff Pointy, good stuff.

    The Donald seems to have the media mesmerized with shiny bits and pieces he is getting on with the things that matter. He will indeed go from strength to strength. No wonder the Democrats are thrashing around like snakes in a sack he will destroy them.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. hillbilly33 says:

    Very interesting article Pointy. There’s no way we can get such insights on Australian MSM. I loved this nice bit of balance in a well-deserved smack-down of “in the dark” fake news purveyors in the U.S media and a timely reminder to ‘outraged’ Democrats.
    http://www.billoreilly.com/video?chartID=554

    Like

    • Blackswan says:

      Pointman,

      Good news that with Trump’s hand on the helm, Washington’s Ship of State is slowly changing course, and steering the free world in a new direction.

      We haven’t seen “Truth, Justice and the American way” since Clark Kent dashed into a phone booth to pop on his onesie with the big red cape, and we despaired as the DC Swamp became liberally stocked with alligators, boa constrictors and piranha fish that would reduce anyone of integrity to mere bones … its corruption copied around the world.

      In Australia’s Westminster Parliamentary System nobody gets to vote on or approve Prime Ministerial appointments at all, thus corruption becomes more deeply embedded as a PM’s “captain’s pick” (as the crooked Gillard described it) can destroy or advance any career as markers for political debts are called in, cronies appointed to the Judiciary or to fill Senate vacancies with no oversight whatsoever.

      With Trump’s restoration of the DoJ/FBI’s ability to pursue criminal activity at any level, surely the prosecution of the Clinton Crime Family and their co-conspirators (such as Obama) will signal to their global criminal network that Lady Justice, though blindfolded, will have her day in court.

      We live in hope.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Peter C says:

    And here I was thinking that Trump may be a disappointment! If I lived in America I would be over the moon about this story.

    However I live in Australia. So I am now worried about how well our Prime Minster can handle himself to look after Australian interests. I think that America might want some action in our beef markets in Japan and China. Malcolm Turnbull is lie Trudeau.

    Like

    • Blackswan says:

      If America wants some action on our beef export markets they’ll find themselves increasingly dealing with the Chinese.

      Chinese principals now wholly own some of our biggest pastoral holdings, our dairy industry and our abattoirs. They are operating on a Paddock to Plate system … livestock owned by the Chinese, raised on Australian paddocks which are now owned by the Chinese, are processed by the Chinese with unskilled Filipino workers on 457 visas (thereby doing Aussies out of jobs), and then exported by the Chinese to end up on Chinese plates …. yum, yummm.

      http://pickeringpost.com/story/discriminating-against-aussies-with-457-visas/7118

      By the way, updating that story … Mitchell Rock, the young slaughter-man who blew the whistle on that scam has been fired. That’s how Australian governments AND their Unions defend and protect our workers who speak out. Put simply … they don’t.

      Crikey, it would lead anyone to suspect that Union bosses and assorted politicians were collecting over-stuffed brown paper bags of cold hard cash to be selectively deaf, dumb and blind to the rampant corruption and sell-off of our national agricultural heritage.

      Yep … if Trump wants some Aussie beef market action he’ll be dealing with the Chinese who now own (and export) most of it – lock, stock and barrel.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Graeme No.3 says:

      Peter C:
      Am I to take your last 2 words as intentional? Not that it matters.
      I was ‘robocalled’ after the Budget and asked various questions slanted to get the ‘right answer’, e.g. I was asked who I would vote for
      1. Malcolm Turnbull
      2. Bill Shorten
      Normally I then vote 3 which means the question is repeated and if I still answer 3 then the call quits, but I wasn’t paying attention. I also got a 5 way choice as to who would be the best PM. MT, BS, Tanya Plibisek, Nick Xenophon or someone whose name I forget but was my choice (on the grounds that he couldn’t possibly be worse).

      With both major parties trying to bribe votes out of the 60% who pay less tax than the government gives them, the resentment of the other 40% is building.
      Who knows, we may get an Ozzie Trump.

      Like

  10. Christopher Ivey says:

    Something you may wish to look into: George Soros, (whose organizations provided substantial support to Justin Trudeau in the last election), may have found it in his interest to quietly encourage a trade war over coal. After funding “grassroots” organizations to cheerlead for the abolition of coal, he quietly acquired the three largest coal producing companies in the United States, (at rock-bottom valuations). It’s now in his interest to encourage the United States to kick start domestic coal production.

    Like

  11. Art says:

    BC lumber is NOT subsidized. When the lumber market nosedived in the ’80’s, American mills shut down and waited for the price to improve. BC mills got lean and mean. They modernized which meant faster production with fewer employees and much better recovery of lumber per log, driving down the cost of production, resulting in BC mills being the most advanced and productive in the world, a position they’ve held ever since.

    American mills use a board-ft. scale, which only measures the amount of lumber obtainable from a log using 1930’s technology and their stumpage is paid on that basis which means up to 40% of their timber is free. BC uses a firmwood cubic scale, which measures every bit of sound wood inside a log, and stumpage is charged on that basis, no matter what is done with the wood. Lumber, sawdust, slabs, wood chips, it makes no difference, the stumpage is charged against it all.

    Conversions from bd. ft. to firmwood cubic and vice versa uses a ratio based on 1930’s technology, so when Americans convert BC stumpage rates to bd. ft., they leave out a lot of firmwood upon which stumpage is paid, thus giving the impression of subsidy by low stumpage. This is deliberately deceptive on their part, as is the fact that they neglect to mention the free 40% of wood they get.

    Canadians and Americans have gone to court over this issue numerous times over the past 3 decades, and the Canadians won every time. In American courts. And they will win in court again.

    Like

    • Warren Bork says:

      I hope you are correct, Art. It just gets so tiresome that we have to keep going through this every 10 yrs or so. I see around here, that even stumps themselves are being utilized for pulp. They cleared a bunch of land for an industrial park and they raked every stump out of the ground and brought in a grinder to turn even the stumps to chips for the pulp mill. I sure like that better than a pile of waste being burned… or back in the day, the beehive burner. BC has come a long way from those days, but international trade disputes are still stuck on stupid.

      Like

  12. Jamie MacMaster says:

    Great Article!

    “At some point, Trudeau will finally realise he can’t win and start to play the David being bullied by Goliath card…”

    Well, he won’t realise it on his own accord. It will have to be pointed out to him. Because…..

    “Trudeau, being the not so bright golden boy…”

    Like

  13. Exiled Maritimer says:

    A few points to address – Every commission at every level, including the American commissioners, that has looked into lumber has found that Canadian stumpage is not a subsidy. When a challenge is once again rejected the American lumber association goes political. It should be noted that the Canadian counter tariffs target certain stated whose politicians are most vocal. In Canada federal and some provinces ban campaign donations from industry and unions and personal are banned and personal donations are limited to about $1500 per year. Harder to buy a politician for that amount and is something you should look into. Lesson takeaway, if you want fair trade practice fair trade. With respect to coal, there is very little cross border trade in coal with both American and Canadian exporting to Asia. Unfortunately a fool politician in BC raised a coal ban or carbon tax in a close election and other fool politicians picked it up. The ban/ tax would also apply to Canadian exports hurting our own coal industry as much as the US’s. When you look at it from another viewpoint, the reason it is being exported through Canada is that the western states have instituted export bans to keep their environmental lobbies happy. If you don’t like Canada’s ban address the US’s state bans. Third point, can we have P.Trump when you are finished with him. Our guy is a complete fool.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. goodoleboy says:

    The lumber dispute has nothing to do with the efficiency or not of Canadian lumber mills or stumpage per se.

    “The heart of the dispute is the claim that the Canadian lumber industry is unfairly subsidized by federal and provincial governments, as most timber in Canada is owned by the provincial governments. The prices charged to harvest the timber (stumpage fee) are set administratively, rather than through the competitive marketplace, the norm in the United States. In the United States, softwood lumber lots are privately owned, and the owners form an effective political lobby. The United States claims that the Canadian arrangement constitutes an unfair subsidy, and is thus subject to U.S. trade remedy laws, where foreign trade benefiting from subsidies can be subject to a countervailing duty tariff, to offset the subsidy and bring the price of the commodity back up to market rates.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada%E2%80%93United_States_softwood_lumber_dispute

    As pointman states in the article “If you haven’t seen it yet, on this dispute or another one he’ll pick, this was always his ultimate goal.”.

    There’s an arguable case which is all Trump needs to make his example.

    Like

    • Art says:

      That’s the reasoning excuse for the countervailing actions by the US lumber lobby, but it doesn’t hold water as the US courts have repeatedly ruled. Not all of US timber is privately owned, I’ve heard that about a third is government land.

      Management of American lumber companies such as Weyerhaeuser who operate in both countries have said they pay basically the same amount of stumpage in both countries. BC stumpage is set by a formula that uses a percentage of the lumber price which is competitive, and thus it follows that our stumpage is also competitive and up to market rates.

      Liked by 1 person

    • goodoleboy says:

      Art, you’re completely missing the point. “There’s an arguable case which is all Trump needs to make his example.” I’m not sure how to simplify it further.

      Like

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  1. […] Source: Find them, fix them and then destroy them. […]

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  2. […] tariffs on any of their goods being brought into America. On the foreign imports issue, he’s picked a fight with Canada over subsidised timber which should stay safely jammed up in a commercial court for years to come […]

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