Wednesday, September 13, 2006

"U.S. Lumber Company Execs Appeal to Congress to Block Administration Plan Giving Preferential, Off-budget $500 Million Payments to Competitors"

"Canada and the U.S. have been in a decades-long dispute over softwood lumber imports. This summer, negotiators for the two countries reached an agreement that is designed to end the dispute for up to nine years. Part of the deal, however, hands back to the U.S. lumber companies that brought the trade actions against Canada one-half billion of the five billion in duties collected since 2001.

'Giving the petitioners this money will allow them to undercut other competitor lumber companies and even buy out smaller companies, cutting jobs and raising home costs,' Slaughter said. 'It also appears to circumvent a U.S. Court of International Trade ruling that giving money to trade case petitioners under the Byrd Amendment would be a violation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The Administration wants to give cash to a select group of U.S. companies, harming their competitors.'"

Among those opposing the proposed payover are the following Washington State companies:

Lewis County Forest Products, Winlock, Washington

Mason County Forest Products, Shelton, Washington

Oakville Forest Products, Oakville, Washington

Ponderay Valley Fibre, Usk, Washington

Portac, Inc., Tacoma, Washington

RSG Forest Products, Kalama, Washington

Sauvola's Sawmill, Northport, Washington

Zosel Lumber Co., Oroville, Washington