VANCOUVER, Feb. 13 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Lumber Trade Alliance
(CLTA) today refuted claims by 10 US Senators that Canada has not been
complying with the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA).
The CLTA noted that since the Agreement was signed in April 2006, the
market share of Canadian lumber producers in the U.S. has gone down from an
annual average of 34% in October 2006 to 29% in November 2008 while the share
of U.S. producers has gone up by the same amount.
"It is clear that the U.S. lumber industry has benefitted from this
agreement," said John Allan, Secretary to the Canadian Lumber Trade Alliance.
"The market share of Canadian producers has dropped significantly over the
period of the Agreement, a full five percentage points in fact. This has had a
huge impact on our industry."
The CLTA noted that all lumber producers across North America are facing
difficult times, as the collapse of the U.S. housing market has pushed demand
for lumber and prices to record lows. "We have sympathy for our colleagues on
the U.S. side of the border. There is no question that all lumber producers in
North America are hurting badly with significant job losses and mill closures.
But this is no excuse for inaccurate claims that the Canadian industry is not
living up the Agreement. What these Senators have failed to recognize is the
impact of the mountain pine beetle epidemic in British Columbia and Alberta,
which has dramatically decreased the quality of timber."
The Canada-U.S. Softwood Lumber Agreement came into force in October
2006. Under the Agreement, Canada restricts exports of softwood lumber by
imposing quotas and/or taxes on what it sends to the United States.
Every year, 350,000 lumber shipments cross the border from Canada to the
U.S. Canada is the largest supplier of imported lumber products to the U.S. by
a wide margin, traditionally supplying up to one-third of the lumber used in
the United States.
Given that regulating a trading relationship of this magnitude will give
rise to disputes, the Softwood Lumber Agreement provides for a number of
dispute resolution mechanisms -- discussion between the two governments,
exchange of information, and, in two cases, reference to arbitration.
"President Obama and Prime Minister Harper should understand that on the
forestry front, our two countries have an extraordinarily large and complex
trading relationship. Canadian industry is doing its best to live up to its
side of the Agreement, and these kind of unfounded accusations are not
helpful." said Mr. Allan.
The CLTA is the voice for Canadian companies on lumber trade issues,
representing the majority of Canadian lumber exports.
For further information:
For further information: John Allan, Secretary, Canadian Lumber Trade
Alliance, (604) 619-9311