The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Canada's shipping industry dodges a 'massive tax grab' in the U.S.

  • Print

WASHINGTON - Canada's shipping industry appears to have steered clear of a threatened U.S. cargo tax.

The push for a tax on cargo from Canada and Mexico was excluded from the new Water Resources Reform and Development Act, signed into law Tuesday by U.S. President Barack Obama.

"(This) would have been a massive tax grab and a massive congestion problem," a pleased Canadian ambassador Gary Doer said in an interview before the bill was signed.

"This would have been a real blow to Canadian ports, and real congestion points at our borders."

The final legislation doesn't include the proposed 0.125 per cent tax, which would have been collected by U.S. Customs on all cargo carried into the U.S. via Canadian ports.

The bill negotiated between the two houses of Congress does address some of the complaints from Washington state lawmakers, who say their ports are currently disadvantaged by the American tax system.

They say it's unfair that certain ports have been forced to put disproportionately high sums into a national harbour maintenance fund, making them less competitive against Canadian ones.

The new law offers $25 million to certain ports, like those in Seattle and Tacoma, that are net contributors to the fund. Other provisions include authorizing 34 new Army Corps of Engineers projects.

The Canadian government had feared that the sweeping, 10-year funding plan would incorporate the tax idea. Washington state Democrats in the Senate and House of Representatives had proposed such a levy in similar bills.

In a recent U.S. speech, Transport Minister Lisa Raitt even hinted at the possibility of trade retaliation.

The Canadian side argued that its ports are gobbling up business from Asia because of faster maritime routes and fast-expanding infrastructure.

Wendy Zatylny, president of the Association of Canadian Port Authorities, said the tax would have been an unfair penalty — not just on Canada's ports, but on the entire continental economy.

"Canada's port authorities invest heavily in infrastructure and innovation, and their efforts have allowed them to remain at the forefront of a highly-competitive and mobile sector," Zatylny said in an email.

She said 10 million jobs on the continent depend on trade and investment between the two countries and they benefit from ongoing efforts to speed up the flow of goods.

The proposed cargo tax, she said, would have pushed things in the wrong direction and "would have been detrimental to these positive efforts."

The idea of a tax isn't completely dead, but without the help of a larger piece of legislation, it's likely to falter, as it has in the past, Doer said.

"We've defeated it three times now — three attempts," he said. "But this was a really important one — because it had both (Washington state) senators proposing it. And it did not pass."

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Keri Latimer looks for beauty in the dark and the spaces between the notes

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project. Baby peregrine falcons. 21 days old. Three baby falcons. Born on ledge on roof of Radisson hotel on Portage Avenue. Project Coordinator Tracy Maconachie said that these are third generation falcons to call the hotel home. Maconachie banded the legs of the birds for future identification as seen on this adult bird swooping just metres above. June 16, 2004.
  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Winnipeg Free Press 090528 STAND UP...(Weather) One to oversee the pecking order, a pack of pelican's fishes the eddies under the Red River control structure at Lockport Thursday morning......

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What's your take on a report that shows violent crime is decreasing in Winnipeg?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google