Thursday, June 01, 2006

Softwood deal far from done

Interesting reading in the Vancouver Sun this morning on the supposedly settled softwood lumber deal that PM Harper just said in QP has the support of "most of the industry."

I guess the exception, perhaps, is the B.C. Lumber Trade Council, which represents the major lumber producers in the province with the largest forest industry. Here’s what the groups president, John Allan, said in today’s paper:

"What we are seeing in the American draft is not acceptable.”

It seems the Canadian government and the U.S. government are each circulating different versions of the so-called final agreement, and the differences are far from minor. The U.S. version contains two major provisions, “an anti-circumvention clause that could prevent British Columbia from introducing a market-based timber pricing system in the Interior, and restrictive definitions that would impose higher taxes on value-added lumber producers”, that Allan calls deal breakers, and unacceptable to B.C.’s forest industry.

I guess Harper surrendering $1 billion in illegally collected duties to the U.S. industry just wasn’t enough for these guys, and it took threats and intimidation to get the industry on board with that.
Now they want more. I wonder if Harper will surrender on this as well?

Softwood draft 'not acceptable'
U.S. offer to end dispute ignores critical B.C. demands, trade council says
Gordon Hamilton, Vancouver sun

Published: Thursday, June 01, 2006

A draft document tabled in softwood negotiations by the U.S. government ignores two demands viewed as critical in British Columbia to ending the softwood lumber dispute.

"What we are seeing in the American draft is not acceptable," said John Allan, president of the B.C. Lumber Trade Council, which represents this province's major lumber producers.


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