Bush to Blair: "Special what?"
November 18, 2003 5:13 PM   Subscribe

US-based multinationals have been told they will receive compensation from American trade authorities if they cancel contracts in Britain.
"The US government's stance on steel tariffs is not only illegal it is damaging business on both sides of the Atlantic. The tariffs may have saved a few steel jobs in Ohio but they have destroyed car worker jobs in Detroit.

"Nice visiting with y'all, mind if I take these jobs back with me?"
posted by dash_slot- (15 comments total)
The TV news just showed GW Bush speaking in Congress in September 2001, saying that "America has no better friend in the world than Great Britain" - or words to that effect. If there was ever a starker contrast between political actions political and words, I don't know of one in recent times.

Does this indicate that the US administration really failed to think through it's policies on trade, and will it at least begin to see why even it's closest allies get really confused, nay angry, at the double-dealing? My thoughts are with the nations currently considering the 'Free trade of the Americas' con-cept.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:24 PM on November 18, 2003

Gee, I can't seem to find this on American news sites.
posted by Slothrup at 6:29 PM on November 18, 2003

oh, don't be so paranoid. :-)
posted by quonsar at 6:45 PM on November 18, 2003

the steel tariffs were a dumbass idea.
posted by wrffr at 11:43 PM on November 18, 2003

CBI director-general Digby Jones..."We are America's biggest trading partner..."

Umm, no.

Canada is America's biggest trading partner by far.

Got to wonder how accurate the rest of his info is.
posted by arse_hat at 11:57 PM on November 18, 2003

I say Chamberlain had the right idea, Tariff reform is a must, Imperial preference is the way forward. Never mind these colonial upstarts.
posted by johnnyboy at 1:41 AM on November 19, 2003

Hang on. So our great friend & ally the USA is gonna screw us over? Well who'd'a thunk it..?

[/uber sarcasm]
posted by i_cola at 3:36 AM on November 19, 2003

If you artificially support one national economy you are artificially harming another. Ain't 'free-trade' a mantra-like tenet of the US ideology?

Let the industry operate on its sustainable level...don't support it because you do no long term favours, you just make a rod for your own back.
posted by boneybaloney at 4:40 AM on November 19, 2003

The steel tariffs are not smart, and I hope even Bush realizes that. I also think Bush realizes that the 2+ billion dollar penalty must be avoided at all costs.

My prediction: The U.S. will wait until the December 10 deadline, then rescind the tariffs, thus avoiding any penalty. Bush can still claim victory for having the tariffs in place for 18 months, and "saving" the U.S. steel industry. The only wrench in my prediction is whether Bush is too afraid of appearing like he caved in to the WTO. As long as he can spin it as a victory, I don't think that will happen.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:22 AM on November 19, 2003

dash_slot: "Does this indicate that the US administration really failed to think through it's policies..."

More accurately, the BUSH administration really failed to think through its policies. A lot of Americans have thought through his policies and came to a "beware the ides of March" kinda determination already. We've been bitching and moaning and laying blame at Shrub's feet since the day he entered office. We've seen where his arrogance and ignorance was going to "lead" this country ages ago.

He just doesn't listen to dissenting viewpoints, like a blind rhinocerous in a flea market.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:33 AM on November 19, 2003

He's being doing this to Canada since he got into office. Steel, softwood... no real surprise here.
posted by sauril at 7:57 AM on November 19, 2003

arse_hat: you may well be right, it is possibly true that America is our biggest trading partner, so a slip of the tongue may have occurred. Still, time will tell whether the WTO enforce the fines against the illegal tariffs, or if fairness returns to the trade scene by other means.

dhartung: from one of your links - "Commission officials maintain that they are not negotiating with Washington but instead waiting for the US to comply with the WTO's verdict and withdraw the tariffs. "Until the president of the US takes a decision there is no point speculating," said a spokeswoman for Pascal Lamy, EU trade commissioner. "The US measures are illegal." So, more accurately, the headline could be - "Victim rejects thief's offer to return some spoils...next year"

Perhaps the EU should cave in & accept the offender's offer of 'compromise': keep on offending, but decrease the value of the illegal acts progressively over the next year or two. Very honourable. Wouldn't that just show em, eh?
posted by dash_slot- at 10:04 AM on November 19, 2003

From another dhartung link: "However, in conversation with CBI president Sir John Egan, Mr Snow said he thought that a trade war was unlikely. During their talk, Sir John told Mr Snow: "It's just crazy if we get into a steel war." Mr Snow replied: "We're not going to.""

Real convincing, that.

As I was saying above, if this is how you treat your allies, Mr Bush, are you surprised what your rivals & enemies think of you?
posted by dash_slot- at 10:10 AM on November 19, 2003

He's being doing this to Canada since he got into office. Steel, softwood... no real surprise here. posted by sauril at 8:57 AM MST on November 19
The actions against softword predate this president. And honestly the US does have a valid complaint about the way stumpage is handled in BC. I've written applications to assist in minimizing stumpage. Forest companies spend considerable effort to reduce their actual assessed stumpage to the mandated minumum of C$0.25 per cubic meter (or about 4000 board feet of lumber) regardless of the nominal rate which varies quarterly. There are so many rebates that with out the minimum companies could actually get the provincal goverment to pay them to cut trees.

However it seems what we do is legal as the WTO and NAFTA watchdogs always seem to rule in our favour. Mind you that is after the american public has paid significatley more for housing during the tariff period.
posted by Mitheral at 11:25 AM on November 19, 2003

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