Boiled down to its essence:
--We get 80% of the export tariffs imposed on our lumber back;
--We'll cap our exports to 34% of the U.S. market and pay surcharges for any excesses.
For a deal that roughly restores the status quo ante, it's getting a rough ride from the industry:
Shares of Canadian lumber companies dropped Thursday ahead of Mr. Harper's news, as a slew of analysts derided the tentative deal.
"The deal is awful. It basically marginalizes the Canadian industry over the next seven years," Richard Kelertas, an analyst at Desjardins Securities, said in an interview.
"Even if the Americans make some modifications to this, it is still a trap for the Canadians. The trap is that there is no language to exit, so they will be trapped in this bad deal for seven years."
Mr. Kelertas, the Desjardins Securities analyst, said that the original deal flew in the face of the North American Free Trade Agreement and World Trade Organization regulations, which state that cross-border deals are illegal. "The danger here is that you set a very dangerous precedent by saying that NAFTA is no good and can be argued by the Americans that it is unconstitutional."
Incredible to see all the same people who were whining about NAFTA now whining that NAFTA isn't being followed.
Perhaps this wasn't the best deal we hoped for, but given how badly the previous government poisoned relations with the U.S., it was the best we could get under a new, less hostile government.
Still, an imperfect solution is better than no solution and thousands of lumber industry workers being thrown out of work as a result.