Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports: BC Mackenzie Subsidy Appears to Be Latest Willful Violation of the U.S.-Canada Trade Agreement on Softwood Lumber



    WASHINGTON, DC, May 6 /CNW Telbec/ - The British Columbia government
continues to circumvent the 2006 U.S.-Canada Softwood Lumber Trade Agreement
by subsidizing timber stumpage rates in order to artificially keep otherwise
uneconomical lumber production on line. The latest example is the apparently
egregious reduction in stumpage for Canfor Corp. to re-open its Mackenzie
lumber mill.
    "There seems to be no end to these flagrant abuses of the SLA by the
provincial government under a variety of guises that are, in reality, nothing
more than subsidy increases," said Steve Swanson, chairman of the Coalition
for Fair Lumber Imports and president of the family-run Swanson Group in
Oregon.
    While initially claiming that these latest SLA inconsistent stumpage
reductions were as a result of "anomalies," media reports have clarified that
Canfor simply pressured for, and received, "concessions on stumpage" rates
from the provincial government.
    Mr. Swanson explained that "stumpage reductions that are not mandated by
pre-existing stumpage rules are violations of the softwood lumber trade
agreement, period."
    "The Softwood Lumber Agreement was designed specifically to address these
continuing, unfair provincial subsidies that seriously distort the North
American market. They result in Canadian producers dumping their subsidized
lumber in the United States, leading to closings of U.S. mills and putting
thousands of American forestry and mill workers out of work," he said.
    Swanson said the Coalition will use any and all means at its disposal to
ensure that the commitments made under the SLA are honored. "We are confident
that BC's SLA violations will be effectively addressed. It is deplorable that
U.S. workers and their communities have to suffer in the interim," said Mr.
Swanson.
    "The SLA was intended to end years of litigation by leveling the playing
field against subsidized Canadian lumber," Swanson said, concluding by stating
that "so far, that has not happened. The United States should explore every
option available to more effectively bring about compliance with this trade
agreement. The U.S. industry, its workers, and millions of private family
forest owners are simply asking for full compliance and enforcement of this
trade agreement - and deserve nothing less."

    About the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports

    The U.S. Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports is an alliance of large and
small lumber producers from around the country, joined by hundreds of
thousands of their employees, and tens of thousands of woodland owners. The
Coalition is united in opposition to Canada's unfair lumber-trade practices,
including its gross under-pricing of timber. For more information, please
visit the Coalition's website at www.uslumbercoalition.org.




For further information:

For further information: Zoltan van Heyningen, (202) 582-0021,
zoltan@uslumbercoalition.org

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COALITION FOR FAIR LUMBER IMPORTS

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