Statement by Minister Van Loan on Softwood Lumber Ruling

(No. 62 - February 11, 2011 - 4:35 p.m. ET) The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade, today issued the following statement regarding Canada’s response to a softwood lumber ruling by the London Court of International Arbitration on programs administered by Ontario and Quebec:

“The tribunal rejected 97 percent of the United States’ $1.86-billion claim as having no basis.

“However, the tribunal’s decision demonstrates that loan guarantee programs that specifically benefit the softwood lumber industry contravene the Softwood Lumber Agreement. This is why the federal government chose instead to foster research, innovation and the development of new markets, as well as aid for workers and communities.

“The tribunal ruled that additional export charges of 0.1 percent and 2.6 percent for Ontario and Quebec respectively would bring Canada into compliance with the Softwood Lumber Agreement. The provinces and industry have called on the Government of Canada to comply promptly with this ruling.

“After carefully reviewing the ruling, the government will complete the necessary steps in Parliament to implement these additional charges as of March 1, 2011.

“Under the provisions of the Softwood Lumber Agreement, charges collected will be returned to the provinces.

“Canada remains committed to the Softwood Lumber Agreement. The Agreement has brought much-needed stability and predictability to the lumber industry and returned over $5 billion to Canadian exporters when they needed it most. Before 2006, endless disputes resulted in unilateral U.S. action that unduly and unjustifiably punished the Canadian forestry industry.”

For more information, please visit Softwood Lumber.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Monika Bujalska
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Peter Van Loan
Minister of International Trade
613-992-9304
monika.bujalska@international.gc.ca

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-996-2000