Maine Delegation Urges U.S. Trade Representative to Ensure Canada is Adhering to Trade Rules and to Guard Against Potentially Illegal and Harmful Subsidies

Dragon Products Company of Thomaston could be hurt by potentially illegal subsidies

Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King and Representatives Chellie Pingree and Bruce Poliquin sent a letter to the acting U.S. Trade Representative Maria Pagan, regarding reports of unfair subsidies that may have been illegally offered to a company in Quebec, urging her to ensure that there are no violations in international trade rules which could harm Maine and Maine businesses.

“We believe it is critical to have fair and robust trade with our friends and northern neighbors in Canada, which benefits both nations and supports thousands of jobs,” said Senators Collins and King and Representatives Pingree and Poliquin. “However, our trade must be fair for Maine. We strongly urge the U.S. Trade Representative to act swiftly in ensuring that all trade rules are being properly adhered to so that we can continue our healthy and beneficial relationship with our friends and trading partners across our northern border.”

News reports indicate that loans and equities, valued at hundreds of millions of dollars, from the provincial government in Quebec are flowing to the McInnis Cement’s newly established $1.1 billion plant in Port-Daniel-Gascons, Quebec. The plant is expected to become operational in the next three to six months.

A significant portion of the product from the McInnis Cement plant is expected to be exported to the United States. The offices of Maine’s Congressional Delegation have been notified that product from the McInnis plant may be targeted specifically for distribution throughout the Northeast. Not only could this targeted distribution have distorting effects on regional markets, but Maine’s cement and concrete workers – like those employed at Dragon Products Company in Thomaston, Maine - would struggle to compete against unfairly subsidized product from Canada.

The Maine Delegation’s letter is available HERE and the text is below:

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Maria Pagan
Acting Ambassador
United States Trade Representative
600 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20508

Dear Ms. Pagan:

We write to express our concerns regarding reports of unfair subsidies that may have been received by the McInnis Cement Company for construction of a new plant in Port-Daniel-Gascons, Quebec, and the impacts such subsidies could have on industries in Maine.

News reports indicate that loans and equities, valued at hundreds of millions of dollars, from the provincial government in Quebec are flowing to the McInnis Cement’s newly established $1.1 billion plant in Port-Daniel-Gascons, Quebec. We understand that the plant is expected to become operational in the next three to six months and that a significant portion of the product from the McInnis Cement plant will be exported to the United States. Moreover, we understand that exports from the McInnis plant may be targeted specifically for distribution throughout the Northeast, which would cause a much more significant effect on this regional market.

We urge the Office of the United States Trade Representative to ensure that the provincial government of Quebec is adhering to Canada’s obligations under the World Trade Organization regarding this matter in order to prevent harm to Dragon Cement and its workers from potentially illegal subsidies. We specifically request your continued attention to resolving this critical issue.

Thank you for your consideration on this matter. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us directly or have you staff contact Elizabeth McDonnell (Sen. Collins) at Elizabeth_McDonnell@collins.senate.gov, Lauren Pfingstag (Sen. King) at Lauren_Pfingstag@king.senate.gov, Evan Johnston (Rep. Pingree) at Evan.Johnston@mail.house.gov, and Philip Swartzfager (Rep. Poliquin) at Philip.Swartzfager@mail.house.gov. We look forward to your response and working with you to ensure that Maine’s economy is not harmed by unfair trade practices.