Alberta Softwood Lumber Trade Council Statement
Edmonton, April 25, 2017 –The United States Department of Commerce has announced the imposition of tariffs ranging from 19% to 24% on Alberta lumber imported into the American market.
“We are disappointed that the United States has chosen this course of action. Their accusations are baseless and unfounded,” said Paul Whittaker, Co-Chair of the Alberta Softwood Lumber Trade Council. “Alberta’s timber pricing practices have repeatedly been found to be fair and competitive by international tribunals. We plan to work closely with the Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta to vigorously challenge these tariffs and fight for Alberta jobs that depend on a healthy, sustainable forest sector. All options, including litigation, are on the table. We expect to be fully vindicated.”
Arguments that US producers make in regard to Alberta’s timber pricing system have consistently been found to be erroneous. They argue that producers in Alberta and other parts of Canada do not pay market rates for timber. This does not take into account many costs, including reforestation, land management, road building, environmental monitoring, and site reclamation that Canadian producers must pay. US producers typically do not do these things or pay for them. Various legal panels, including NAFTA, WTO, and others have upheld Canadian arguments in the past.
Forestry is a major contributor to 70 communities in Alberta and creates thousands of direct and spin-off jobs. The value of the forest sector to Alberta’s economy is approximately $5 billion. As an export-focused sector, access to important markets like the United States is critical for the survival of forestry in Alberta.