January 28, 2005

SENATORS WANT NEGOTIATIONS TO SETTLE LUMBER DISPUTES

Crapo, Craig make case on Senate floor that talks should replace court actions

Washington, DC â?? Spurred by yesterdayâ??s decision by the U.S. Department of Commerce to revise duty calculations, Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Larry Craig are calling on U.S. and Canadian officials to step up talks that could resolve a long-running dispute over Canadian lumber imports into the United States. Both senators joined with Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.) in a colloquy made a part of the Congressional Record in asking Canada to abide by numerous World Trade Organization (WTO) and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) panel decisions that confirm Canada is dumping lumber into the United States at below fair market price. â??In over two decades, Canadian officials have not gotten the message, at least not in a way that takes, that this problem will not be resolved by Canadaâ??s investing hundreds of millions of dollars in legal fees on more than 30 Washington law firms to circumvent U.S. laws in countless appeals to the WTO, to NAFTA panels and to the U.S. courts -- several more were filed just this month. And it will not be solved by the cottage industry that has grown up in Canada to mount PR campaigns in the United States,â?? Senator Craig said.Craig continued, â??The U.S. timber industry vigorously supports the Administrationâ??s view that the unfair Canadian lumber problem could most appropriately and productively be resolved through negotiations -- although perhaps there just ought to be permanent duties in place. Some vested interests in Canada prefer endless litigation, probably based on misguided advice that this will be productive from those who have made a living defending Canadian subsidies.â??Senator Crapo added, â??The problem remains that the market is grossly distorted by Canadian unfair trade practices. Absent termination of or an offset to the unfair practices the U.S. timber industry will be severely impacted by subsidized and dumped Canadian imports. We in the Congress have been assured that those responsible in the Administration will not allow this further injury to our industry to occur.â?? Both Crapo and Craig called on the Canadian government to amend its lumber trade practices and return to actions that continue the strong international relationship between the U.S. and Canada. # # #