Ontario's Programs Do Not Contravene Softwood Agreement
TORONTO, Jan. 18 /CNW/ - Ontario rejects U.S. assertions that provincial
programs contravene the Softwood Lumber Agreement signed last year, Natural
Resources Minister Donna Cansfield said today.
"Our programs do not contravene the Softwood Lumber Agreement," said
Cansfield. "It is frustrating that the U.S. softwood lumber industry continues
to play games with this important issue."
This week, the U.S. government filed a second request for arbitration
proceedings under the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement. The filing deals with
aspects of six programs set up by the governments of Ontario and Quebec to
address forestry and forest industry issues. The Ontario programs that are the
subject of the request are the Forest Sector Prosperity Fund, the Loan
Guarantee Program and a forest access roads program.
The first request for arbitration is related to the method Canada used to
calculate allowable export volumes. Ontario agrees with Canada's method of
calculation. The matter was heard on December 12, 2007, and a decision is
anticipated in February.
"The Ontario programs that the U.S. reviewed in consultations with Canada
pre-date the Softwood Lumber Agreement and are actually quite similar to U.S.
federal and state programs," said Cansfield. "It would be most unfortunate if
the agreement, which was intended to settle disputes, should now become a tool
to challenge pre-existing forestry programs on both sides of the Canada-U.S.
Ontario is committed to working with the federal government in responding
to this second softwood lumber arbitration challenge and expects the federal
government will effectively defend Ontario's position in the arbitration
The Canada-United States Softwood Lumber Agreement was implemented
October 12, 2006.
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For further information:
For further information: Media Calls Only, Minister's Office, (416)
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