Canada Denies U.S. Accusations in Softwood Lumber Dispute
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Date Posted: 1/1/2012
In the latest round of the softwood lumber dispute between the United States and Canada, the Canadian government is arguing that the United States failed to prove that the Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) was circumvented.
The Canadian government recently filed its statement of defense with the London Court of International Arbitration in regards to allegations that logs have been mis-assigned to a lower grade and therefore sold at a lower rate.
“The statement of defense shows that the United States complaint relies on unfounded allegations that are contradicted by trade and other economic data,” said Rudy Husny, spokesperson for the Canadian Minister of International Trade.
The statement said that the United States “fails to identify a single so-called action of the British Columbia government purportedly linking it to the alleged ‘misgrading’ of logs.”
In addition, the United States is being accused of attempting to use allegations of SLA violations to raise prices for Canadian softwood lumber producers. According to reports, John Allan, president of the British Columbia Lumber Trade Council said, “the (U.S.) coalition has always sought to use trade action to increase our costs, anything to increase stumpage rates, any opportunity to increase costs of exporting across the border whether it is a tariff or a tax or a quota.”
U.S. producers are calling the accusation unrelated to the real issue. “The Trade Council’s statement that the U.S. is attempting to increase costs for Canadian producers is simply another attempt at a clever public statement that has little to do with what is at issue,” said Zoltan van Heyningen, president of the U.S. Lumber Coalition. “The issue is whether or not Canada dramatically and artificially further reduced cost to its producers and as such provided an unfair and SLA inconsistent subsidy.”
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