WASHINGTON, DC, Jan. 18 /CNW Telbec/ - The Coalition for Fair Lumber
Imports today welcomes United States Trade Representative Susan Schwab's
decision to initiate arbitration over new subsidies being provided by the
Ontario and Quebec provincial governments to their lumber manufacturers.
The Softwood Lumber Agreement, which came into force October 12, 2006,
expressly prohibits the Canadian federal and provincial governments to provide
new subsidies to their lumber industries.
"The Agreement explicitly mandates a standstill on new Canadian
taxpayer-funded handouts to lumber manufacturers," said Zoltan van Heyningen,
Executive Director of the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports.
Mr. van Heyningen said the Coalition supports the U.S. government's
decision to initiate this arbitration against Canada in this case involving
Quebec and Ontario programs.
"It is simply unacceptable that Canada continues to provide new subsidies
to its industry to provide it with unfair advantages in the U.S. market," he
This is the second arbitration case under the 15-month-old Softwood
Lumber Agreement that was designed to last up to seven years. The first case,
dealing with the Canadian government's failure to fully collect lumber export
taxes on lumber is now before the London Court of International Arbitration.
That hearing was held in New York City on Dec. 12. A decision is expected
before the end of February.
A number of additional new subsidy programs have been announced since the
United States initiated consultations regarding the subsidies subject to
today's announced arbitration proceedings, including a new taxpayer-funded
assistance initiative in Nova Scotia. Additionally, the Coalition is also
reviewing the latest proposal by the Canadian government under its Community
"Unfortunately, Canada has announced several additional new tax-payer
funded subsidies to Canadian lumber manufacturers that will not be covered by
these proceedings," said Mr Van Heyningen. "We will continue to work
aggressively to address all softwood lumber agreement compliance issues."
The Coalition shares concerns with the U.S. government that Canada is not
complying with the October 2006 agreement.
"Canada signed a mutual agreement with the United States to offset the
unfair advantages enjoyed by subsidized Canadian producers," said Steve
Swanson, chairman of the Coalition. "The new subsidies constitute a clear
violation of the terms of the Agreement and we are confident that the
Arbitration panel will find in the favor of the United States."
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. 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.fairlumbercoalition.org.
For further information:
For further information: Zoltan van Heyningen, (202) 862-3686,
email@example.com; Peter Morton, 202-842-1190, firstname.lastname@example.org