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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Softwoods And Oil

Darcey of Dust My Broom writes that the Canadians are trying to force the US to comply with the NAFTA judgements on lumber (we owe them money according to some court cases) by making overtures to China to provide an alternate oil market. Canada usually exports (DOE EIA) the most oil of any single country to the US:
The United States averaged total net oil (crude and products) imports of an estimated 11.8 million bbl/d during January-October 2004, representing around 58% of total U.S. oil demand. Crude oil imports from Persian Gulf sources averaged 2.4 million bbl/d during that period. Overall, the top suppliers of crude oil to the United States during January-October 2004 were Canada (1.6 million bbl/d), Mexico (1.6 million bbl/d), Saudi Arabia (1.5 million bbl/d), Venezuela (1.3 million bbl/d), and Nigeria (1.1 million bbl/d).
However, one of the problems for the US is that we aren't doing much with the resources we have. We have the eleventh largest reserves of oil, the sixth largest reserves of natural gas, and the world's largest reserves of coal. We could also develop nuclear power pretty easily. As it is now, every oil-exporting country that wants to yank our tail threatens us with a halt to exports.

You might want to read the whole topic. This particular post touches on some of the basic issues. Various panels have ruled for Canada, but the last WTO ruling via Boston.com was in the favor of the US (at least sorta):
The world body released its final ruling last Friday, a month after its interim report apparently upheld the U.S. view Canadian softwood exports could potentially damage American mills.

The United States has been levying antidumping and countervailing duties on Canadian softwood since May 2002, when its International Trade Commission ruled the imports were subsidized through low provincial timber-cutting fees and other government policies. U.S. Customs to date has collected more than Canadian $5 billion, a current rate of about $100 million a month.

International Trade Minister Jim Peterson said Canada will file an appeal of the WTO ruling "at the earliest opportunity."
I have no idea who's right, but $5 billion is chump change to our pork-squandering Congress.


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