In the records of human conflicts, there are at least three Chicken Wars. Two left little mark on the world at large, and the third resulted in some strange work-arounds for heavy tariffs. The first was Wojna kokosza, the Chicken or Hen War of 1537, when an anti-royalist and anti-absolutist rokosz (rebellion) by the Polish nobility resulted in near-extinction of local "kokosz" (an egg laying hen), but little else. The second was an odd spin-off of the more serious War of the Quarduple Alliance that lasted from 1717 to 1720. Though most of the activity happened in Europe, there were some battles in North America. The Texas manifestation was the capture of some chickens by French forces from a Spanish mission, and a costly overreaction by Spanish religious and military men. The third Chicken War was a duel of tariffs during the Cold War, with the only lasting casualty being the availability of foreign-made light trucks in the United States. [more inside]
Today, Mexico announced new, tighter tariffs on American goods, including restrictions on U.S. chewing gum. Some say it's because of Teamsters, but the hatred of American chewing gum may harken back to a 19th century military coup. Exiled after numerous attempts to rule Mexico as a military dictator, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna (yes, that General Santa Anna) spent part of his time in exile in -- of all places -- Staten Island. Santa Anna planned to fund his new army with a secret asset: he intended to sell chicle to the Americans. Although the General thought it had more uses, inventor Thomas Adams found the stuff fun to chew on. A few years later, Adams flavored his gum, inventing Black Jack Gum, the oldest continually-made chewing gum in the United States. Sadly, due to recent tariffs, General Santa Anna's army-building Black Jack chewing gum will now cost 20% more to export to Mexico.
Last-minute diplomacy: Less than a week before it left office, the Bush administration tripled the import duty rate on roquefort cheese to 300%, a move which the US hopes will "shut down trade" in the sheep's milk product by making it prohibitively expensive. [more inside]
Canadian lumber industry lashes out at new U.S. tariff The Canadian lumber industry expressed its frustration and disapproval Wednesday at a U.S. announcement to impose an extra anti-dumping duty of 12.57 per cent on Canadian softwood lumber exports. Once again "free-trade" screws Canadians