WASHINGTON, Oct. 22 /CNW/ -- The Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports today
sharply criticized recent Canadian announcements of yet more taxpayer
subsidies for its lumber industry. These announcements fly in the face of the
U.S.-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement, which expressly forbids these types of
new subsidies. The most recent announcements stem from Nova Scotia which, if
implemented as reported, would add that province to the list of provinces
failing to honor the terms of the agreement.
Steve Swanson, Chairman of the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports, stated
that "its Softwood Lumber Agreement commitments notwithstanding, Canada
continues to demonstrate that it will stop at nothing to prop up its lumber
industry." Mr. Swanson elaborated, "the market outcome that the Agreement was
intended to achieve is prevented. Instead, the subsidies exacerbate and
prolong current depressed lumber market conditions by sustaining large
segments of uneconomical Canadian lumber production."
Canada is showing a blatant disregard for its international obligations
under the Softwood Lumber Agreement, as it continues to add to its already
long list of Agreement violations. Since the agreement went into effect in
October 2006, the list of subsidies that Canadian provincial governments have
announced and/or started disbursing includes, among others:
-- Quebec and Ontario implementing plans to provide hundreds of millions
of dollars in grants, subsidized loans and other subsides for, among
other purposes, "business modernization."
-- British Columbia inducing Canada's largest lumber producer to refrain
from shutting one of its "super-mills" by promising to reduce the
prices that it pays for government timber.
-- Alberta announcing arbitrary changes in its administered timber-pricing
formula that will reduce its already-low timber-price rates even
farther from market value.
-- Saskatchewan committing to provide tens of millions of dollars to keep
sawmills open, and even assuming a dominant ownership position in these
-- Nova Scotia committing to provide new lumber subsidies expressly
intended to offset the falling U.S. dollar and sustain its industry
despite falling demand in the United States.
"The Coalition supports the decision taken by the United States to
initiate arbitration proceedings under the Agreement about Canada's new
subsidies," stated Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports Executive Director Zoltan
van Heyningen. "Canada should immediately halt the new unfair handouts to its
industry and start honoring the mutually agreed-upon terms of the Agreement,"
continued Mr. van Heyningen. "It is only on that basis that the Softwood
Lumber Agreement can serve as a lasting alternative to trade litigation,"
concluded Mr. van Heyningen.
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 http://www.fairlumbercoalition.org.
For further information:
For further information: Zoltan van Heyningen of Coalition for Fair
Lumber Imports, +1-202-862-3686 Web Site: http://www.fairlumbercoalition.org