U.S. Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports Deeply Concerned by Latest Canadian Government Subsidy Plan



    WASHINGTON, DC, June 17 /CNW Telbec/ - The U.S. Coalition for Fair Lumber
Imports is deeply troubled by the Canadian federal government's announcement
today of a $1-billion tax-payer funded subsidy program for the country's pulp
and paper industry. The Coalition will closely examine this latest new subsidy
plan, and is disappointed that Canada chose a path that may harm the U.S.
softwood lumber industry and workers instead of addressing their grievance
through the appropriate trade agreement vehicles - such as the WTO, NAFTA, or
the SLA.
    It appears that Canada will provide grants to defray all or part of the
cost of pulp-production capital equipment that is deemed environmentally
friendly.
    "To the extent that the subsidy goes to corporate groups that produce
softwood lumber, this likely constitutes a violation of the U.S.-Canada
Softwood Lumber Agreement," said Steve Swanson, chairman of the Coalition for
Fair Lumber Imports and president of the family-run Swanson Group in Oregon.
    Mr. Swanson explained that "the SLA exemption is limited to forest and
environment policies relating to timber that only incidentally aid lumber
producers and do not have the effect of undermining or counteracting movement
toward the market pricing of timber."
    "To the extent Canada views U.S. tax credits for pulp and paper producers
as contrary to the United States' international obligations, Canada should
pursue these in the appropriate venue - and not by further subsidizing its
industry," said Mr. Swanson, adding that "U.S. softwood lumber producers,
workers, and our communities continue to be harmed by Canadian subsidy
programs that run counter to Canada's trade agreement obligations with the
United States."
    "The Softwood Lumber Agreement was designed specifically to address
Canada's unfair subsidies that seriously distort the North American market.
They result in Canadian producers dumping their subsidized lumber in the
United States, leading to closings of U.S. mills and putting thousands of
American forestry and mill workers out of work," said Mr. Swanson.
    Mr. Swanson concluded by stating that "it is ironic that Canada appears
to recognize the harm that can be done with government subsidies that disrupt
the market as Canada challenged the United States regarding the 'black liquor'
issue. Yet, Canada's forestry industry continues to benefit from, and depend
on, billions of dollars in annual government subsidies to compete and export
to the U.S. market. It is time for the Canadian forestry industry to stand on
its own feet and compete based on free and competitive market principles."

    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.uslumbercoalition.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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