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April Fools on us from the Tories over Softwood Lumber Deal

Remember how this deal was supposed to end the Softwood Wars – according to the Conservatives? Remember how a lot of us on here and a lot in the forest industry said this was a softwood sellout?

Here’s a story that proves a) was wrong, and b) was likely:

The United States is requesting consultations with Canada under the Softwood Lumber Agreement reached last fall. In a news release late Friday, International Trade Minister David Emerson said the United States wants to talk about federal and provincial forestry programs and the so-called surge mechanism, which penalizes exporters if they ship above their set quotas…U.S. trade officials signalled weeks ago they were unhappy with government programs particularly in Ontario and Quebec aimed at helping their struggling forest industries…A majority of softwood lumber exporters signed on to the agreement, often reluctantly. Many were fatigued by years of expensive trade litigation and needed the duty refund to recapitalize their operations. The deal left embittered producers, particularly lumber remanufacturers who export products such as flooring, siding and window frames, who argued the government abandoned them in favour of big exporters.

The US took us to the bank on this agreement the first go-around (we capitulated when we’d won virtually all court cases against them at the WTO and thru NAFTA , need I remind you all), so its no surprise they’re going to see if they can get more concessions this time around. Why not? This government is so eager to show it can get along with the US it would sell its own soul to do so.

By the way, industry observers further cast doubt on my a) point:

Some industry observers have doubted the agreement will survive past the two-year minimum notice period allowed before either country can terminate it.

I’m not particularly complaining about that, to be honest. This deal should never have been signed in the first place.

1 comment to April Fools on us from the Tories over Softwood Lumber Deal

  • I certainly hope this deal is torn up. It is a sell-off. Coming the area hardest hit by the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic (another promise the Conservatives are failing to live up to- only ~$30 or so million dollars has been earmarked out of the $200 million promised this and last year), we need to log more than the quotas to get the pine beetle wood logged before it becomes worthless. Not to mention all the various ecological catastrophes that may (or have) come as a result of the pine beetle.

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