Tribunal rules B.C. didn’t break 2006 softwood lumber deal
Workers pull graded lumber off a conveyor belt at a mill in Richmond, B.C., in this 2006 file photo. (Richard Lam/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Wednesday, July 18, 2012 3:00PM EDT
OTTAWA -- Canada is declaring victory in a dispute with the United States over softwood lumber exports from British Columbia.
A tribunal convened under the 2006 softwood lumber agreement has ruled that Canada didn't circumvent the deal by shipping large quantities of pine beetle-infested lumber south of the border.
International Trade Minister Ed Fast calls the decision a welcome victory for workers in B.C.'s lumber industry.
The United States launched the dispute, arguing that British Columbia was subsidizing wood damaged by the mountain pine beetle. The U.S. Lumber Coalition is expressing disappointment in the ruling by the London Court of International Arbitration.
British Columbia denied the province was cheating, saying American producers should have known there would be an effort to clear dead, beetle-infested timber.
Industry observers said the dispute was the most serious to date under the softwood lumber agreement, which is set to expire in October 2013, because it struck at the core of forestry policy and timber pricing.