Federal Government Defends British Columbia’s Softwood Lumber Industry

(No. 327 - October 8, 2010 - 2:50 p.m. ET) The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade, today issued the following statement regarding the U.S. request for consultations with Canada under the Softwood Lumber Agreement:

“I am disappointed that the United States has rejected cooperative dialogue on this matter in favour of formal dispute settlement. There is no justification for arbitration, and Canada will make this point forcefully in consultations.

“The U.S. complaint deals with a pricing system that is no longer in place.

“The Softwood Lumber Agreement was negotiated with a view to establishing stability, enhancing cooperation and facilitating an open dialogue between Canada and the United States.

“Canada and British Columbia have been transparent on B.C.’s market-based timber pricing system. This system was already in place when the Softwood Lumber Agreement was established. The increased proportion of low-value logs in B.C.’s timber harvest is due to the unprecedented mountain pine beetle infestation. Regrettably, the United States decided to rely on unfounded allegations, which are flatly contradicted by trade and other economic data.

“The Softwood Lumber Agreement has been in effect since October 2006. The Agreement was designed to create a predictable trade environment, and to provide stability and certainty to producers and consumers on both sides of the border. It put an end to unproductive trade litigation, and has served our industries well during the recent global economic downturn.”

For more information, please visit Softwood Lumber.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Monika Bujalska
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Peter Van Loan
Minister of International Trade

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada