Still trying to explain those tariff increases

The Prime Minister invokes China

The Prime Minister again raised the notion of special deals for China yesterday as an explanation for the government’s decision to increase tariffs.

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure the leader of the Liberal Party understands the issue of tariffs. Let me be clear. The position of the government has been that we have progressively reduced a wide range of tariffs for all Canadians. Canadians have benefited from that to the tune of over half a billion dollars a year.

At the same time, we do not think it is appropriate to have special tariff reductions only for companies from countries like China. The Liberal Party apparently thinks that is appropriate. That is the wrong policy. The right policy is lower tariffs for Canadians and to ensure that Chinese companies pay their fair share.

That leaves only 51 other countries—the 71 other countries that are now subject to higher tariffs, minus the 20 who have trade deals with Canada—to account for.

Two weeks ago, Jim Flaherty suggested that increasing tariffs was about leverage in trade negotiations, but Mike Moffatt notes that Canada is only currently known to be negotiating trade deals with seven of the countries that are now subject to higher tariffs.

It also would seem to remain difficult to square the Harper government’s tariff increases with the Conservative party’s advertising in this regard.

In other news, Canada Border Services Agency has still so far failed to offer an explanation as to how imported iPods might be exempt from tariffs. It has been nearly three weeks since I asked.

See previously: A tax on imported blanketsThe Commons: Ted Menzies challenges everyone to find a tax increase in the budgetA tax on bicycles, baby carriages and iPodsThe Great iPod Tax Crisis of 2013The iPod tax: The finance department respondsWill the Conservatives repeal the iPod tax?Breaking news: Your imported hockey helmet will cost less and Letters from Justin