U.S. lumber lobby vows trade action against Canada

Plus, luxury tea hits Vancouver, the strange existence of the U.S. penny, and Bill Morneau's big spend

Credit: Mike Mozart/Flickr

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The U.S. lumber lobby says it now has “no choice” but to launch trade challenges against Canada now that a one-year standstill period has expired in the cross-border softwood lumber dispute—a move that will lead to punitive duties on Canadian forestry exports to the United States. Oct. 12 marks one year since a nine-year truce in the perpetual Canada-U.S. softwood conflict ended. The Trudeau government and the Obama administration have failed to sign a successor pact despite months of negotiations. (The Globe and Mail)

Singapore-based upscale tea merchant TWG is the newest luxury retailer to choose Vancouver for its regional flagship store. TWG Tea, which launched in 2008, said it will open the store—the tea merchant’s flagship North American location—in downtown Vancouver on Dec. 1. Company officials said Vancouver was chosen for its affinity for upscale tea, noting the region’s large Asian community and B.C.’s appreciation of niche, artisanal beverages. “Launching in North America is a key component of the company’s global expansion strategy, particularly since the continent is showing a rising thirst for the coveted commodity,” said a statement from TWG, noting tea sales in Canada totaled $1.3 billion last year and consumption is expected to grow an additional 40 per cent in four years. (Vancouver Sun)

Canada got rid of its penny in 2012, for good reason: it costs more than one cent to produce. Why does the U.S. still have one? It costs $1.43 to produce 100 pennies, and last year making pennies cost taxpayers almost $39 million. President Obama, who would like to get rid of it, offered what is probably the best explanation for the continued production of pennies: Congress struggles to accomplish even the most obvious tasks. (The New York Times)

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau is making a trip across the country to meet with ordinary voters and business operators, and he is set to meet with Canada’s top private-sector economists Thursday in Toronto, ahead of a fiscal update expected in November. On Wednesday, the Ottawa-based Public Policy Forum gave him their opinion on his big infrastructure spending plan: Canada will remain an “infrastructure laggard” without a long-term, “world-class” growth strategy. “Canada is an infrastructure laggard in a world where these investments matter more and more,” the independent policy think-tank said in a study statement. “While our country has increased its spending, it is doing so without an adequate policy framework to ensure it gets the best bang for its buck. Canada suffers from a hodge-podge approach and a lack of rigour and ambition that will limit the long-term impact of its investment on economic growth, competitiveness and job creation.” (Financial Post)