Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports Concerned that $1.15 Billion in New Canadian Tax Payers Funded Aid for Forestry Undermines U.S. Jobs and the Softwood Lumber Agreement



    WASHINGTON, DC, Jan. 26 /CNW Telbec/ - The Coalition for Fair Lumber
Imports today expressed deep concern that the Canadian Government's plan to
provide C$1.15 billion in new aid to Canada's forest industry will likely
result in further U.S. job losses and could represent the latest violation of
the U.S.-Canada Softwood Lumber Trade Agreement.
    The Coalition vows to closely examine the details of tomorrow's (Jan. 27,
2009) Federal Canadian Budget and promptly work with the Obama Administration
and the Congress to ensure that any trade agreement violations stemming from
this, or previous, SLA-inconsistent aid program will be addressed
aggressively.
    The Coalition's members are concerned about a seemingly endless array of
initiatives to reduce costs illegally for their Canadian competitors. Hopes
that the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement would help to level the playing field
against subsidized Canadian lumber are being dashed by Canada's systemic
disregard of its commitments under the agreement.
    Oregon Lumberman Steve Swanson, Chairman of the Coalition and CEO of the
family-owned Swanson Group, said that "it is time to closely examine whether
this agreement has delivered the intended benefits to U.S. lumber communities,
and take meaningful enforcement steps in instances where Canada has willfully
undermined this trade agreement and U.S. jobs."
    The agreement specifically includes a ban on new government subsidies to
Canadian lumber production, no matter how they are crafted. Canada's subsidies
are extremely disruptive in the market place and have accelerated the closures
of hundreds of competitive U.S. lumber mills and losses of U.S. jobs in
communities that can least afford this economic harm.
    "Since the agreement came into force, the Canadian federal and provincial
governments have repeatedly violated the agreement through illegal subsidies,
including large reductions in provincial timber royalties. The new subsidies
have maintained timber production in the face of sharply declining demand
while further suppressing market prices," said Steve Swanson.
    "What is the point of having a softwood lumber trade agreement if Canada
continues to violate it? It is time to enforce this agreement and make it work
for U.S. companies, hundreds of thousands of U.S. workers, and millions of
private family forest landowners and their communities," Swanson said.

    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 including
Swanson's full text and other issues, please visit the Coalition's website at
www.fairlumbercoalition.org.




For further information:

For further information: Zoltan van Heyningen, (202) 582-0021,
zoltan@4fairlumber.com

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COALITION FOR FAIR LUMBER IMPORTS

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FEDERAL BUDGET 2009

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