Canada says wins softwood lumber case vs United States
OTTAWA (Reuters) - An international arbitrator dismissed a complaint from the United States which accused Canadian lumber firms of violating a bilateral accord on softwood exports, Ottawa said on Wednesday.
Washington had alleged Canadian producers were setting artificially low prices for wood from trees killed in a massive insect infestation in the Pacific province of British Columbia.
Canadian Trade Minister Ed Fast said the London Court of International Arbitration had ruled for Canada.
"This is good news for forestry workers in British Columbia. We applaud the tribunal's decision in favor of our lumber industry," he said in a statement.
The United States said it was disappointed with the ruling and remained concern that British Colombia sold publicly-owned timber harvested in its interior to softwood lumber products at prices far below market levels.
"It is important to note that the tribunal did not sanction the pricing practices in British Columbia," said Nkenge Harmon, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Trade Representative's office.
"Rather, as a result of a flawed approach to evaluating the evidence before it, the tribunal concluded that it was unable to find a conclusive link to action by the Government of Canada," Harmon said.
Canada and the United States signed a seven-year deal on lumber exports in 2006 in a bid to end decades of complaints from U.S. producers that Canada unfairly subsidizes its firms.
Earlier this year the two nations extended the agreement to 2015 but irritants remain and some U.S. producers are still unhappy. Continued...