Jimmy Carter: Trump right on ‘unfair’ Canadian lumber moves

Jimmy Carter: Trump right on ‘unfair’ Canadian lumber moves
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Former President Jimmy Carter says that he agrees with President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump nominates ambassador to Turkey Trump heads to Mar-a-Lago after signing bill to avert shutdown CNN, MSNBC to air ad turned down by Fox over Nazi imagery MORE’s decision to slap tariffs on softwood lumber entering the U.S. from Canada.

“This belated enforcement of U.S. trade laws will help millions of private timberland owners, American forestry workers and members of their local communities by leveling the playing field in the timber industry,” Carter wrote in a Washington Post op-ed published Tuesday.

Carter mentioned personal ties to the lumber dispute, citing family members who own roughly 1,800 acres of timberland.

"Timber sales are a major source of income for my own family, and we have suffered financially for many years from an unfair advantage enjoyed by our major competitor in this vital market," he wrote.

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The Commerce Department last month said it would impose a “countervailing duty” of between 3 percent and 24 percent on Canadian lumber exporters. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the duties would amount to about $1 billion on softwood lumber.

The Trump administration’s move inflamed a long-running trade dispute between the U.S. and Canada.

U.S. lumber producers have long alleged that Canadian lumber imports are unfairly subsidized, with critics saying that companies north of the border can source timber from government-owned land.

Canada insists it does not subsidize lumber, arguing that producers must pay market shares for its wood.

Softwood lumber is one of Canada’s largest exports, with the U.S. taking in almost 80 percent of the supply.

“While there are many benefits to [a] harmonious bilateral relationship between the United States and Canada, our neighbor to the north must still play by the rules and stop engaging in unfair trade practices," Carter wrote Tuesday.

Trade tensions between the U.S. and Canada have also risen recently over the North American Free Trade Agreement, with reports indicating White House officials had enlisted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to help convince Trump not to unilaterally scrap the pact.

Trump announced last month that he would renegotiate the 23-year deal between the U.S., Canada and Mexico instead of withdrawing the U.S. from the agreement.