March 08, 2005

Idaho Delegation Commends NAFTA Panel Decision

Ruling by international panel upholds U.S.-imposed tariff on softwood lumber

Washington, DC â??Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Larry Craig and Idaho Representatives Mike Simpson and C.L. â??Butchâ?? Otter welcomed the news that a North American Free Trade Agreement panel has upheld the U.S.-imposed tariffs on lumber imports from Canada. The five-judge panel determined that the United States can maintain the tariffs, which are generally 8.42% Canada-wide. The tariff has been imposed since May of last year after a determination by the International Trade Commission that the Canadians were selling softwood lumber producers at unfairly low prices.â??This decision is a welcome advancement of fair and competitive trade. When the U.S. timber industry was being undercut by Canada's unfair lumber trading practices, the U.S. Commerce Department worked to remedy the situation to ensure the longevity of this vital industry,â?? said Crapo, who serves on the Senate Banking Subcommittee on International Trade. â??The NAFTA panel's decision to uphold these duties will reinforce efforts to promote fair trade and serve as an illustration of how trade remedies can be effectively utilized for the betterment of Idaho's economy.â??â??Free trade must be fair trade, and this ruling upholds the U.S. decision to impose tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber imports,â?? Craig said. â??It is heartening that the NAFTA panel recognized the validity of the U.S. position. The Idaho congressional delegation will continue to monitor this situation to ensure that the softwood lumber industry in Idaho and throughout the country is getting fair play on the international marketplace.â??â??Idaho's timber industry has suffered for years due to unfair trade practices and the dumping of Canadian Softwood lumber on the American market. The ruling proves that the U.S. did the right thing by placing tariffs on incoming lumber, and it is acceptable under the terms of NAFTA,â?? Simpson said. â??Hopefully this ruling will end a chapter of disagreements on this issue.â??â??This is great news for Idaho loggers and mill workers, and our communities that depend on those jobs for survival. Itâ??s also encouraging that this decision upholds our Commerce Departmentâ??s underlying determinations on the nature of Canadian subsidies. Theyâ??re unfair and contrary to the tenets of free trade. Itâ??s as simple as that,â?? said Otter, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection. Otter traveled to more than 80 countries on trade missions during a 30-year career with the J.R. Simplot Co. â??Iâ??m not a fan of tariffs. But it looks like about all we can do since the Canadians refuse to adhere to the spirit of an international agreement they signed.â??