DEVASTATING IMPACT ON CANADA SEEN FROM U.S. TIMBER DUTIES
redoak at forestmeister.com
Thu Jan 3 08:10:07 EST 2002
The following propaganda was in my local paper today. My
comments are mixed in.
> DEVASTATING IMPACT ON CANADA SEEN FROM U.S. TIMBER DUTIES
> by DiNeen L. Brown
> Washington Post
> VANCOUVER, B.C. - Thousands of logs float idly in rivers in
> British Columbia, where sawmills have gone quiet, workers have
> been laid off and the scent of wood being cut has subsided. This
> is what it looks like on the other side of the timber war being
> waged between the United States and Canada.
> The special duties of 32 percent that the United States imposed
> on softwood lumber imports from certain Canadian provinces this
> year have had a devastating impact on the Canadian economy,
> people here say In Canada, lumber is big. The economies of
> entire towns depend on lumber mills. When mills go broke, towns
> do, too.
> Passions roused on both sides
> "It's not like in the United States, where you have a deep,
> diversified economy," said David Emerson, chief executive of
> Canfor Corp., one of Canada's largest lumber producers. In
> British Columbia, "the economy is driven by the forest
> industry," he said. "When you lay that industry on its back, the
> whole province is laid on its back."
> Passions are inflamed on both sides of the border in a seemingly
> endless dispute. American lumber executives say the duties are
> necessary to help save American jobs - the Canadian government
> unfairly subsidizes Canadian lumber, they contend, letting it
> undercut U.S.-made lumber and put U.S. companies out of
The US timber business has had it easy in past times, and was
clearly a sort of welfare recipient, having ripped off forests
owners from coast to coast to coast, including many below cost
timber sales on public land. Now that they are finding that they
have to pay a fair price (some of the time)- they can't compete with
the Canadian mills, who are still cutting big timber- the American
mills having wasted most of the US big timber from coast to coast
and having done little in the way of promoting timber management-
having always had the "cut out and get out" mentality.
Now the US industry gets another welfare check by this huge tariff
on the Canadians. The Soc. of American Foresters and all other
progressive forestry organizations should oppose this tariff and
fight to get more good timber management in America so we can
compete, without further welfare checks.
> But the tariffs' impact on U.S. jobs remains unclear. Canadian
> officials say that despite the tariffs, softwood exports to the
> United States, which average about $9 billion annually, haven't
> fallen significantly. While sales from big exporting provinces
> such as British Columbia are down, other provinces not covered
> by the tariffs appear to have increased their sales to the
> United States.
> Nonetheless, Canada's job base as a whole has taken a big hit,
> Canadian officials say, as companies lose orders or lay off
> people to help cover the cost of the tariffs.
> Officials say Canada has lost about 30,000 jobs this way, 18,000
> of them in British Columbia.
> "There is anger, frustration and worries," said Surjit Mahal,
> who was sent home for six weeks this year from the Hammond Mill
> just south of Vancouver but now is back at work smoothing wood.
> "That totally changes your life. I'm a father of four kids. All
> of a sudden you are laid off. I didnt know how to tell it to
> them. 'Sorry, guys, we have to postpone buying hockey equipment.
> I lost my job."
> Lumber is an old cause of friction in U.S.-Canada trade. In
> 1996, the two sides signed the Softwood Lumber Agreement to
> regulate it, giving selected Canadian provinces fee-free access
> to the U.S. market for a certain volume of wood but requiring
> Canada to collect fees on anything above that level. Many U.S.
> builders opposed the agreement, saying it raised the prices of
> wood used in American homes.
> Accusations of 'dumping'
> The agreement expired in March of this year. In August, the
> United States slapped a 19.3 percent tariff on softwood lumber
> from Canada. The ruling came after U.S. lumber producers alleged
> that in several provinces the Canadian government unfairly
> subsidized lumber companies by charging low "stumpage" fees to
> cut trees on federal land. The tariff was suspended' on Dec. 15
> pending issuance of a final decision on the complaint in March.
> In October, the United States found that Canada was "dumping"
> wood in the United States at illegally low prices and imposed an
> additional 12.6 percent antidumping duty.
> British Columbia and Quebec have suffered the biggest blows.
> "Nobody is making any money," Emerson said. "We're all losing.
> The American consumer is losing. And they won't admit it, but
> the U.S. industry is losing. It's hurting everybody. A lot of
> sawmillers are losing their fingernail tips as they try to hang
> More than 30 percent of the lumber used in the United States
> comes from Canada. U.S. lumber producers say Canadian lumber has
> been putting U.S. sawmills out of business - that roughly 120 in
> the United States have shut down because of unfair Canadian
> The Coalition for Flair Lumber Imports, a U.S. group, claims US
> companies cannot compete be-' cause the Canadian government
> subsidizes local lumber companies by charging artificially low
> stumpage prices to harvest lumber on government land, where most
> lumber is cut in Canada.
> In contrast, U.S. companies normally cut on private land, where
> fees are higher.
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