Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports Comments on Split Arbitral Decision Regarding U.S.-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement



    WASHINGTON, March 4 /CNW Telbec/ - The Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports
expressed support for a London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA)
ruling that that Canada has violated U.S.-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement
commitments relating to export quota volumes. The Coalition expressed
disappointment with a separate ruling relating to export tax levels applicable
to British Columbia and Alberta shipments.
    The tribunal will now decide on an appropriate remedy to cure Canada's
breach, with remedy proceedings expected over the next few months.
    "The Coalition is pleased that the tribunal came to the only correct
determination in this case relating to quota volumes" stated Coalition
Chairman Steve Swanson. Swanson continued, "The negotiated required tax and
quota limits on shipments are essential to remedy the effects of Canada's
unfair trade practices on U.S. lumber manufacturers, workers and communities.
    The Coalition disagrees with findings that let Canada off the hook
regarding past collections of 'surge mechanism' export taxes. Canada expressly
agreed to the all the terms of the agreement and should live up to those
terms. That said, the tribunal's decision regarding the surge mechanism should
be helpful to U.S. producers when markets recover."
    Swanson continued: "these are extraordinarily challenging times for the
lumber industry. This is due primarily to the downturn in the housing market.
But on top of this, our industry faces a real problem with Canada's nonmarket
system of, in effect, giving away its natural resources, the trees owned by
the people of Canada, by selling them below market value to prop up Canadian
mills. So U.S. mills must deal with the diminished housing market plus the
Canadian unfair practices and violations of the agreement that was designed to
offset those unfair practices."
    Underlining the Coalition's resolve to ensure that Canada fully honors
the Softwood Lumber Agreement, Swanson also commented on the second
arbitration proceeding dealing with new subsidies being provided to Ontario
and Quebec lumber manufacturers.
    "By providing new subsidies, Canada is knowingly violating the terms of
its agreement with the United States. We have the facts on our side and are
confident that the arbitral panel will find in favor of the United States,"
said Swanson. "We are, however, deeply disappointed that Canada continues to
try to evade its international obligations, thus forcing the United States to
take these steps," concluded Swanson.




For further information:

For further information: Zoltan vanHeyningen, (202) 862-3686,
zoltan@4fairlumber.com

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U.S. COALITION FOR FAIR LUMBER IMPORTS

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