Canada does not want to see citizen involvement in the ongoing dispute between the U.S. and Canada concerning softwood lumber trade, according to comments they recently filed with the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Earlier this spring, U.S. environmentalists and Canadian First Nations weighed in on the trade dispute, claiming that weak environmental enforcement and violation of First Nations treaty and land rights were subsidies to the B.C. and Quebec logging industries. They asked the U.S. Commerce Department to assess duties on softwood lumber entering the U.S. The groups involved are the Natural Resources Defense Council, Northwest Ecosystem Alliance, Defenders of Wildlife, the Grand Council of the Cree, and the Interior Alliance.
In the latest twist to this story, Canada aligned with Quebec, British Columbia and Canadian timber industry associations in asking Commerce to dismiss the environmental and First Nations Claims.
Responding to Canada's comments on July 3, the environmentalists and First Nations assert the right to submit information concerning additional subsidies in the countervailing duty case concerning U.S.-Canada softwood lumber trade. Any one has the right to submit information to the Commerce Department about additional subsidies.
Contrary to Canada's contentions, the environmental groups and First Nations response affirms the original claim of subsidies:
By not enforcing the Canadian Fisheries Act against logging companies in British Columbia, Canada and British Columbia provide a countervailable subsidy to the B.C. logging industry. A benefit is conferred through
(1) provision of timber from protected areas;
(2) reduction in logging costs; and
(3) foregone revenue to the Canadian government through failure to levy fines.
By not enforcing the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement against logging companies in Quebec, Canada and Quebec provide a countervailable subsidy to the Quebec logging industry. A benefit is conferred through
(1) no expenses for the required social and environmental assessments;
(2) no expenses connected with necessary mitigation measures; and
(2) provision of timber from areas that would otherwise be designated for Cree traditional land uses.
By not recognizing aboriginal title in British Columbia, Canada and the province provide a countervailable subsidy to the British Columbia logging industry. A benefit is conferred through
(1) provision of timber from areas that would otherwise be removed from commercial logging by aboriginal interests; and
(2) inadequate remuneration beyond stumpage fees as is due indigenous peoples as part of their land rights.
The U.S. Department of Commerce is expected to reach a preliminary decision in the countervailing duty case against Canada on July 27, 2001