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Softwood Lumber ruling victory for Canada-US trade

Published by Stephanie Brooks on July 20, 2012

A major win for British Columbia's lumber industry came yesterday in an announcement that Canada had not circumvented the Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA), as alleged by the US.

The London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) ruled in favour of Canada's forestry sector in the SLA trade dispute with the United States over the timber pricing system for British Columbia's Interior.

Minister of International Trade, Ed Fast, welcomed the decision that he says will bring certainty and stability to a vital sector in the Canadian economy.

The US lumber industry claimed in 2008 that a high volume of lumber affected by the mountain pine beetle in the BC Interior was being misgraded as low-value Grade 4 logs. These claims led the US government to request arbitration under the Canada-US SLA, stating the systemic misgrading thwarted the agreement by underpricing the logs.

The BC forestry industry created more than 53,000 jobs and exported about $10 billion in forest products worldwide in 2011. The same year, the province exported $1.7 billion worth of softwood lumber products to the US.

Canada and the US have the world's largest bilateral trading relationship, with more than eight million Americans depend on trade with Canada, and almost three million Canadian jobs rely on exporting to the US. Reducing obstacles to trade between the two countries contributes to mutually beneficial supply chains, therefore increasing competitiveness and efficiency.

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