Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports Welcomes Step by the U.S. Government to Enforce the U.S.-Canada Softwood Lumber Trade Agreement



    WASHINGTON, April 7 /CNW Telbec/ - The U.S. Coalition for Fair Lumber
Imports today voiced strong support for a decision by the United States Trade
Representative to impose duties on lumber imported from Ontario, Quebec,
Manitoba and Saskatchewan following Canada's refusal to cure its breach of the
U.S.-Canada Softwood Lumber Trade Agreement (SLA).
    The announcement by the USTR implements a February 26, 2009 London Court
of International Arbitration (LCIA) ruling that Canada must remedy its
overshipments of lumber to the United States in violation of the U.S.-Canada
trade agreement.
    The LCIA ruled that an appropriate adjustment to compensate for the
breach would be imposition of an additional 10% tax on exports from Ontario,
Quebec, and other provinces under "Option B" until a total of $68.26 million
Canadian dollars has been collected. The United States is imposing as an
import duty precisely the same tax that Canada should have imposed as an
export charge.
    Earlier this month, the Canadian government ignored the clear LCIA
directive by offering a lump-sum payment of US$46.7 million to the U.S.
Treasury.
    Steve Swanson, Chairman of the Coalition, said that "Canada's
unwillingness to adhere to the arbitration panel ruling was just the latest
example of Canada's bad faith approach to this trade agreement." "This
critical step by the Obama Administration provides comfort to U.S. industry
and workers that trade agreements will be enforced, and thus allowed to
function as intended," said Mr. Swanson.
    "Canada was simply trying to provide yet another subsidy for its industry
- to keep less competitive companies operating at the expense of U.S. sawmills
and workers," Swanson said. Mr. Swanson continued by stating that "all that
U.S. industry and workers have ever asked for is that Canada live up to its
commitments under the Softwood Lumber Trade Agreement."
    Canada had the option to "cure" the violation by other means that provide
at least the same economic benefit to the U.S. lumber industry. Canada's
proposed payment to the U.S. government would have no such remedial effect and
so would not be a cure. And the SLA specifies that when Canada fails to
implement an arbitration panel ruling (cure), the United States has the right
to self-enforce the panel's decision.
    "The LCIA and the SLA give the United States the right to impose the
remedy tax on shipments from Option B provinces since Canada failed to do so,"
said Mr. Swanson, concluding that "the Coalition strongly supports the
Administration's decision to do so."

    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.fairlumbercoalition.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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