Talk About Baloney

“In Canada’s Grocery Carts, a Boycott U.S.A. Movement Starts Rolling”​

(WSJ)

I’ve been trying for years to put Canadian-grown produce in my cart; but over the years US and South American produce has all but replaced foods grown here in Canada. Even prices have gotten other worldly if you can find something grown here, like corn: once a staple in Rome then in Victorian England has gone from 10 cobs for  1 Canadian dollar to $1 for one cob in the last 5 years.

Canada’s TSX is reaching record highs.

Yesterday all day and the day before BNN interviewers and the financial experts they interviewed spoke grimly about despondent investor sentiment caused by President Trump’s desire to impose tariffs on goods imported into the USA. Today the Toronto stock exchange according to captions appearing on my television screen for the past 2 hours say that the Toronto, Canada stock exchange has surpassed former highs.

Canada’s Globally Owned Steel Industry

Despite Canada’s formidable reserves of iron ore, the steel industry in recent decades has shrunk significantly as industrial markets have become increasingly globalized. Today, every remaining steel mill in the country is owned by foreign investors and Canada is a net importer of the manufactured product. (Canadian Encyclopaedia)

Steel imported into the U.S.A. from Canada is about to be taxed not iron ore. Since steel is imported into Canada, any steel made in Canada is done under the control of foreign owners and their CEO’s. The Canadian people have nothing to do with the production of steel. Canada’s steel industry was sold off some time before the 2009 sale of the crown corporation Petro Canada.

A “bargaining chip”

…The talks are fluid, and Trump has shown a willingness to veer between extremes in how he interacts with Beijing. But Trump said Sunday on Twitter that he wanted federal regulators to take the unusual step of relaxing penalties on ZTE, even though the Chinese company has been accused of illicitly shipping goods to North Korea and Iran.

What Trump didn’t reveal publicly is how much the company has become a bargaining chip as the White House tries to extract trade-related concessions from China while pushing for cooperation on sanctions against Iran and North Korea, the people said…(Chicago Tribune,May 13,2018)

Blather About Tariffs On Steel

Yesterday’s presidential tariff tweets have been dismissed by most online media as counterproductive because tariffs would increase prices on imported steel and aluminum products resulting in the manufacture of fewer steel products and greater unemployment not less.

All of the anti-tariff articles I read today highlighted Canada and the European Union as the greatest sources of U.S.’s steel and aluminum imports. And I was surprised to learn of Canada’s apparent near dominant influence on the United States in this area especially after seeing a man on Canada’s Business News yesterday reporting that China’s advances in steel and aluminum smelting having dwarfed production in the U,S. and Canada in recent years. Indeed I don’t know who in Canada produces these steel and aluminum products that the U.S. imports in greater quantity than from anywhere else in the world since all Canada’s steel making companies seem to have disappeared.  The Canadian Encyclopedia says

…Despite Canada’s formidable reserves of iron ore, the steel industry in recent decades has shrunk significantly as industrial markets have become increasingly globalized. Today, every remaining steel mill in the country is owned by foreign investors and Canada is a net importer of the manufactured product…

Trying to make sense of the steel imports to the U.S. that the American president threatens to tax I went to a Wikipedia page of metal industry statistics.

Now whether these numbers are accurate or not, they are – staggering – with China at the top of the list in 2017 with 831.7 metric tons from 14 metric tons in 1967, the European Union (all the countries of Europe) second with 168.7 metric tons production from NA in 1967, United States fourth 81.6 tons from 113 in 1967 and Canada seventeenth with 13.7. from 8.8 in 1967. Contrasting steel production in China with that of the United States from 1967 to 2017 in light of Mr. Trump’s tariff tweets is alarming. For As U.S. steel production diminished from 113 tons in 1967, China’s production sky rocketed from 14 tons in 1967 to 831.7 tons in 2017. Is there a journalist who has the authority to explain why U.S. steel production has been made irrelevant by China’s enormous advances and why journalists do not mention that Canadian steel making like that of the U.S.A. is diminishing to the point that ‘Canada is a net importer of the manufactured product.”

Protectionism expired to birth the income tax in 1842 UK & 1914 US

…The budget of 1842 reduced the tariff on some 750 articles, and three years later Peel reduced tariffs still more. Duties on raw materials were mostly abolished and those on manufactured articles were consolidated at a general level of 10 per cent. In these ways the burden of revenue was moved from trade to ordinary citizen, and the motive of protection was virtually abandoned…

And Jason Orestes  of the Washington Examiner reminds us on January 29, 2020

Tariffs were once a mainstay in U.S. trade policy. Constituting the main source of federal revenue from 1790-1914, and at one point providing over 90% of government income, they were a pivotal component of U.S. fiscal and foreign policy. Their main motivation in those times: protect U.S. industry from foreign opposition. It wasn’t until colossal industrial growth coupled with the introduction of the income tax rendered them less critical to the government balance sheet, and their use declined.


Thomson, 19th Century History of England, p.79