The response from the office of the United States Trade Representative upon learning the Americans had lost another round in the softwood lumber dispute was short, to the point, and not at all unexpected.
“We are, of course, disappointed with the … decision, but it will have no impact on the anti-dumping and countervailing duty orders given the ITC’s November 2004 injury determination,” said USTR spokesperson Neena Moorjani.
That is to say, when it comes to the politically charged issue of protecting the inefficient U.S. lumber industry, nothing â€” not international law, not trade agreements or treaties, not common sense, not the rule of the marketplace, and not even U.S. consumers â€” will stand in the way of protectionism.
Softwood lumber is another issue, like steel, where the US has shown they are mostly free traders when it suits them. Otherwise, they’ll litigate, stonewall, and everything else to get and keep their way.
It’s hard to know if NAFTA (and now CAFTA is coming) is good for Canada or not, especially when the trading partners don’t trade by the rules.