PRESQUE ISLE, ME -- United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk has responded promptly to Congressman Michael Michaud's request to examine the details of the financial package offered by the provincial government of Nova Scotia to a paper mill in Port Hawkesbury.
Michaud sent a letter to Ambassador Kirk on September 26th requesting that he obtain complete information about the province's rescue package and determine whether it is consistent with Canada's NAFTA and World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments. If violations are found, Michaud has urged for expeditious action.
"We need to get to the bottom of this deal to ensure that no current trade laws have been violated," said Michaud. "I greatly appreciate Ambassador Kirk's commitment to investigate this matter. This deal could have a significant impact on our paper mills and the critical jobs and small businesses they support."
The text of the letter sent by Kirk to Michaud:
EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
THE UNITED STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20508
The Honorable Michael H. Michaud
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Representative Michaud:
This is to respond to your letter of September 26, in which you raise concerns about recent reports that the Governments of Canada and/or Nova Scotia have reached agreement to provide various forms of assistance, including possible subsidies to a paper mill in Nova Scotia. I appreciate your raising this matter with me and with this office.
I agree that the news accounts last week raise troubling questions about potential injurious and/or WTO-inconsistent subsidies, including of the kinds that you note in your letter. In that regard, I have directed my staff to confirm whether the information provided in the news reports is correct, on an expedited basis. In concluding this inquiry, I have further directed my staff to request information from the Government of Canada regarding any assistance it or the Government of Nova Scotia have agreed to provide or plan to provide. The United States will also raise the matter at meetings later this month of the Committee on Subsidies of the World Trade Organization.
This Administration has an unparalleled track record at pursuing the effective enforcement of our trade agreements to ensure that American businesses and working people can compete on a level playing field. I can assure you that we will work speedily to obtain the facts of this matter. Based on what we find, we will consider all feasible and effective options --- doing so aware that this is a time sensitive matter.
Ambassador Ron Kirk