The Real Story Behind the Tariffs Aimed at Canada

It is about steel coming from China. This is the story you won’t see in the US media, and it is barely in the Canadian media. LILLEY: Feds could have avoided U.S. tariffs on steel, aluminum

China ships steel to Canada. Canada turns around and ships it to us, and pretends it is from Canada.

The Americans have long complained about something called “transshipment.” That is the practice of Chinese steel being shipped to a country, such as Canada, and then re-exported, sometimes with little to no change in the product, to the United States.

Essentially, some companies try to pass off Chinese steel as duty-free Canadian steel. Or Mexican steel, or European steel. The Americans say this has happened from many countries as China sells at below-market rates to keep its steel plants going.

And the administration first complained to Canada over a year ago. April of 2017 to be exact. The Trudeau government didn’t do anything about it until the day before the tariffs were imposed.

Why wouldn’t we have stopped this?

It’s not like allowing it to keep going was about protecting Canadian steelworkers, it protects Chinese steelworkers.

With friends like Trudeau… (Hat tip to The Road Kill Diaries)

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The Best Statement on Electric Car Subsidies

I really wanted to title this post “Make Canada Great Again,” but I resisted. Doug Ford makes a good start in Ontario

Another politician is keeping campaign promises. What is the world coming too?</sarcasm>

Oh, and those subsidies… under the heading “Pay for your own fancy car.”

Soon the subsidies for green cars will fall by the wayside. This should go for the same reason the reno program went. If you can afford to buy a Honda Clarity starting at $39,900 instead of the Civic at $16,790 or the Accord at $26,590 then you don’t need my help.

These more than pissed me off when the US .gov was handing them out to people buying Tesla Roadsters that cost more than most people make in a year. People buying those cars did NOT need a handout from someone making $60 grand a year. But that is exactly what they were getting. Still are getting.

Also going by the wayside in Ontario: reimbursements for rehabbing your house, and catered meals for the members of the parliamentary caucus. (He paid for a pizza lunch himself, told the members they would have to brown bag it, “Like normal folks,” in the future.)

Meanwhile in the Socialist Paradise of Venezuela….

The oil industry – the country’s last support – looks to be pushed over the edge. Workers Flee and Thieves Loot Venezuela’s Reeling Oil Giant.

Workers in the oil industry were high-paid, and it was an important support for the government so it got what it needed. But when hyperinflation hits, it doesn’t matter how high your salary is, it will be worthless next month, or the month thereafter. So finally even the oil workers are heading for the exits.

Desperate oil workers and criminals are also stripping the oil company of vital equipment, vehicles, pumps and copper wiring, carrying off whatever they can to make money. The double drain — of people and hardware — is further crippling a company that has been teetering for years yet remains the country’s most important source of income.

The last time I checked, the volume of oil shipped from Venezuela was down substantially and falling. The government wants to increase shipments by 1 million barrels per day, but people are leaving because a months salary won’t buy 2 cartons of eggs, so it isn’t clear how they will meet that goal. And with the infrastructure being gutted… (Hat tip to Small Dead Animals)

Decisions. Decisions. And the Problem with doing research on the web

I’m in the market for a bench-top drill press. I don’t want a cheap piece of junk, but it doesn’t need to be gold-plated, either. I recently lost access to the one I was using. (OK, I dropped my membership at the maker space, because it wasn’t very convenient.) Hence the search for a replacement.

So of course you turn to the web. For “reviews.”

My first beef: Most of the “review sites” just repackage the reviews from Amazon. (I did find a Popular Mechanics article, wherein they actually did a review, but it was from sometime back. I may in the end rely on its recommendation.)

My next stop was the “forums.” Someone, ahead of me asked, “What’s the Bench-top drill press to get?” Or “Does anyone have experience with these drill presses?” Immediately (on just about every site I checked) someone – not the same person – said,

Why are you looking at bench-top presses? You should buy a floor-height press!

Since everyone from Harbor Freight up to Jet sells bench-top presses, it is because some of us don’t have room (or the budget) or the need to be able to drill the end of 4 foot dowel. So when someone is shopping for a bench-top whatever, you might consider that they know more about what they need than you do. Of course you see this in every forum ever. I run across it in sailing, HAM radio, and woodworking. Someone has to leap to my aid because I can’t possibly know anything.

If anyone has some real experience with any of these, the question of the day is the Jet JWDP-12 versus the WEN 4214. With the 3rd possibility being the Grizzly G7943

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You Can’t Really Call the Status Quo With Canada “Free Trade”

Unless you think a 270 percent tariff is “free.” This article is from last year, and from Canada. A guide to understanding the dairy dispute between the U.S. and Canada

The problem with saying Trump is attacking “free trade between Canada and the USA” is the dairy tariff Canada imposes.

Why are U.S. dairy farmers mad at Canada?

Canada has long maintained a high tariff wall on most dairy products. The duty on milk is 270 per cent. That keeps most imports from the United States and elsewhere out of Canada, while helping to prop up higher domestic prices. One notable exception is ultrafiltered milk and other protein-rich dairy ingredients used to make dairy products such as cheese and yogurt. North American free-trade rules do not cover these ingredients, so they enter Canada duty-free. And in recent years, U.S. dairies have developed a booming business selling these low-cost products to dairies in Canada ($133-million last year). That all changed about a year ago, when Canadian dairy farmers and producers moved to close the breach in the tariff wall with a new “ingredients strategy.” They persuaded regulators to create a new lower-priced class of industrial milk as an incentive to get dairies to produce protein substances in Canada, using Canadian milk. The result was predictable: U.S. imports fell in 2016, and are declining sharply so far this year. [2017]

Doesn’t sound too much like free trade to me, no matter how the chattering classes try to spin it.

French Unions Don’t Want to Use Their “Special” Status

Because they should have jobs (with great pay and gold-plated benefits) even if the country can’t afford it. French strikes over Macron’s reforms cripple public services. This is important, because if you look at the NEXT post, you will see that the country has a lot it needs to spend money on – like Police.

“We don’t want the state to close railway lines or to end the special status the rail workers benefit from. That’s why we’re here today,” Romain told CNN at the Place de la République in the capital, as music blared and vendors sold hot dogs, beer and wine to marchers.

Because the French should continue to support the rail lines even if they aren’t used or needed because union members are “Special.” Or something. (Maybe “greedy” or “insane” would be better terms.

Tuesday’s action is the third nationwide strike in France since Macron began his five-year term in May last year, promising to slash public spending and inject new life into the economy.

Because there is no better way to convince your countrymen that you aren’t a bunch spoiled, overpaid brats than to go on random strikes. My bet is that it will convince more of the French they need a mode of transport not controlled by unions.

And you though American politics were screwed up.

UPDATE: France considers 8.9 percent unemployment a strong economy. We would call that a recession.

Sign of the Times?

The Germans can no longer make the trains run on time. So is this progress, or just a symptom of a deteriorating Europe? Quarter of German long-distance trains late in month of March

Once a shining example of German efficiency, accuracy and, above all, punctuality, today there are accusations voiced that Germany’s long-distance railway company Deutsche Bahn (DB) is a shadow of its former self.

Trains are on time about 78 percent of the time. Which I’m Guessing is better than AMTRACK. (They don’t publish percentages, since it is all the fault of the various “host freight lines.” Not that the passenger knows or cares which freight line is involved.)

Deutsche Bahn is wholly owned by the German government. It was formed by the merger of Deutsche Bundesbahn (“German Federal Railway”) from the West, and Deutsche Reichsbahn (“German Reich Railway”) of East Germany after Unification.