Friday, September 09, 2005

Saying Thanks To Mexico And Canada

Mexico and Canada have pitched in to help after Katrina. One good turn deserves another, and the Feds can say thanks while helping Americans rebuild - just eliminate US tariffs on Mexican cement and Canadian lumber.

From Mexico yesterday:

About 45 vehicles carrying...two mobile kitchens that can feed 7,000 people a day, three flatbed trucks carrying mobile water treatment plants and 15 trailers of bottled water, blankets and applesauce. It also includes military engineers, doctors and nurses.

The Mexican government was already planning another 12-vehicle aid convoy for this week. It has sent a Mexican navy ship heading toward the Mississippi coast with rescue vehicles and helicopters.

From Canada:

...the Government of Alberta announced that it was donating $5 million to the Hurricane Katrina fund administered by former presidents Bush and Clinton.

...the Operation UNISON task force of navy and coast guard ships departed Halifax Harbour for the U.S. Gulf Coast.

...the American Red Cross has asked Canadian Red Cross chapters in Quebec for cots for refugees staying at U.S. evacuation centres and that other services had been requested from chapters in Ontario.

Universities across Canada have also offered to take in university students from New Orleans whose studies have been interrupted.

...35 military divers were poised to depart by air Sunday from Halifax and Esquimalt, B.C., for the New Orleans area. Their chief tasks will be to help their U.S. counterparts clear navigational hazards like loose barges and inspect flood-damaged levees. The 18-member Pacific Fleet Diving Unit based at Esquimalt flew to Pensacola, Fl.

One good turn deserves another, here's the WSJ (subscription):

...lumber and cement, which will soon be in great demand to rebuild the tens of thousands of damaged homes. Prices are sure to rise as reconstruction begins, but thanks to U.S. tariffs as high as 27% on Canadian lumber, American home buyers already pay an extra $1,000 on average for their shelter. The same goes for U.S. duties on Mexican cement, which have averaged 55% since 1990.

Now would be an ideal time for Washington to declare a truce in these trade spats and reduce the price of rebuilding.

No-brainer.