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U.S. Consumer Groups Call Weyerhaeuser Proposal to Tax U.S. Lumber Consumers Up to 25 Percent 'The Wrong Idea At The Wro…
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U.S. Consumer Groups Call Weyerhaeuser Proposal to Tax U.S. Lumber Consumers Up to 25 Percent 'The Wrong Idea At The Wro…

An alliance of American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH), formed to oppose continued quotas or taxes on softwood lumber imports from Canada, today called a proposal from Steven R. Rogel, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Weyerhaeuser, the wrong idea at the wrong time. Rogel has proposed that the Canadian government impose a border tax of as much as 25 percent on lumber going into the U.S. Currently, the U.S. is imposing countervailing and antidumping duties of 27 percent on imports, which were implemented last May. "This is a wrong idea at the wrong time," said Susan Petniunas, spokesperson for ACAH. "Canada has won its cases several times in the past in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and under the North American Free Trade Agreement, and has already had significant victories this time. We believe that Canada will win again, and that it should pursue free trade and open markets in lumber between the U.S. and Canada." "ACAH believes that if the cases are handled expeditiously in the WTO and NAFTA, decisions should be announced within the next several months, possibly as early as February or March from NAFTA," Petniunas said. "If there are no appeals to drag the process out, a resolution to this lumber war can be achieved," Petniunas added. Because there are not enough trees available to produce lumber for home building in the U.S., Canadian lumber imports are absolutely vital for the construction of affordable new homes and to make improvements on existing homes in America. The U.S. relies on Canada and other sources for approximately a third of the lumber it needs. Led by International Paper, Potlatch, Plum Creek, Sierra Pacific, Temple Inland and southern landowners, the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports filed petitions with the U.S. Commerce Department more than a year ago alleging that domestic lumber producers had been harmed by Canadian softwood lumber imports and asking for countervailing and antidumping duties. The International Trade Commission approved the Commerce Department's action, and duties were imposed at the end of May. More than 110 members of the U.S. House and Senate have signed resolutions or have written letters to President Bush over the past year opposing duties and indicating their support for free trade in lumber between the U.S. and Canada. Workers in the lumber consuming business outnumber jobs in lumber production 25-1. The 27 percent duties already in place could add as much as $1,000 to the cost of a new home, and price as many as 300,000 families out of the housing market. ACAH has opposed those taxes. ACAH members represent more than 95 percent of the lumber consumption in the U.S. Members include American Homeowners Grassroots Alliance, Catamount Pellet Fuel Corporation, CHEP International, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Consumers for World Trade, Fremont Forest Group Corporation, Free Trade Lumber Council, The Home Depot, International Mass Retail Association, International Sleep Products Association, Leggett & Platt Inc., Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, Manufactured Housing Institute, National Association of Home Builders, National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, National Retail Federation, and the United States Hispanic Contractors Association.

11/20/2002
Congressional Resolutions Urge Bush: End 27 Percent Federal Tax On Canadian Lumber Imports Essential for Homes, Other Uses
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Congressional Resolutions Urge Bush: End 27 Percent Federal Tax On Canadian Lumber Imports Essential for Homes, Other Uses

- Consumers get stuck paying the bill while large U.S. forest companies pocket profits - Congress, Senate members seek free lumber trade, competitive North American market WASHINGTON, Oct. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Congressmen Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) and Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) have introduced an updated concurrent resolution calling on President George W. Bush to pursue discussions with the Canadian Government to "promote open trade between the United States and Canada on softwood lumber, free of trade restraints that harm consumers." The resolution aims to: * ensure a competitive North American market for softwood lumber; * ensure free trade regarding softwood lumber between the U.S. and Canada; * ensure all stakeholders are included in trade discussions of softwood lumber, a reference that specifically includes consumers who ultimately pay the increased costs of protectionist tariffs; * and calls for a fair and expeditious review by independent World Trade Organization (WTO) and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) panels. It also urges the U.S. government to abide by the decisions of these international trade agreements to which the U.S. has subscribed. A similar resolution has been introduced in the Senate. The WTO found this summer that the Department of Commerce action imposing countervailing duties a year ago on Canadian softwood lumber imports should be overturned, and is in violation of international trade rules. The U.S. has also recently suffered a major set-back in the WTO when it ruled that the Byrd Amendment that allows the U.S Government to pay duties it collects to "injured" U.S. companies in a countervail dispute is also a violation of international trade rules. Similar WTO challenges have been made by Canada on the antidumping duties and other aspects of the long-standing trade dispute between Canada and the U.S. The House resolution, H. Con. Res. 454, similar to one introduced in the Senate (S. Con. Res. 135) in August and supported by 12 members of the Senate, asks the Bush Administration not to intervene to impede the current challenges by Canada in the WTO and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to determine whether the U.S. countervailing and antidumping duties are legal under international trade rules. The resolutions ask that the process move expeditiously so that this issue can be resolved under international trade rules. "Softwood lumber is essential for building quality, affordable homes in the United States," said Cong. Hoyer. "Its price and availability have a major impact on the U.S. economy, workers and consumers. The U.S. home building industry employs approximately 6.5 million people." Hoyer noted that this compares to more than 25 jobs in the consumption of lumber for each job in U.S. forestry production. In May, the U.S. Commerce Department imposed massive countervailing and antidumping duties, equal to 27 percent of the product's volume, on softwood lumber. That decision was based solely on the hypothetical "threat of injury" with no proof of real injury to the U.S. forestry industry by Canadian imports. The duties are harming U.S. consumers, according to ACAH spokesperson Susan Petniunas. "The final 27 percent countervail and antidumping duties imposed last May on finished lumber for framing homes and remodeling, may increase the average cost of a new home by as much as $1,000," she said. Based on information from the U.S. Census Bureau, that additional $1,000 prevents as many as 300,000 families from qualifying for home mortgages." Cong. Kolbe said that the duties "are penalizing home buyers and other U.S. lumber consumers. It is wrong to penalize consumers when there is no significant proof that there has been any damage to the U.S. industry by the Canadian imports. This dispute has been going on for more than 20 years. The U.S. consumer suffers, while the U.S. government and industry have never been able to prove that the imports harm our domestic industry." The duties are opposed by a broad-based alliance of consumer groups, trade organizations, and companies that represent more than 95 percent of U.S. softwood lumber consumption, American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH). "The duties amount to a federally imposed 27 percent sales tax on first-time homebuyers and on seniors seeking to reduce home costs in retirement," said Petniunas. "Consumers' interests should be a major factor considered by the Administration, and we appreciate the members of the House and Senate urging President Bush to do so," Petniunas said. "These duties hurt our ability to provide affordable housing, and jobs within lumber consuming industries." Because there are not enough trees available to produce framing lumber for home building in the U.S., Canadian lumber imports are absolutely vital for the construction of affordable new homes, and to make improvements on existing homes in America. The U.S. relies on Canada and other sources for approximately 37 percent of the lumber it needs. Led by International Paper, Potlatch, Plum Creek, Sierra Pacific, Temple Inland and a group of southern landowners, the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports filed petitions with the U.S. Commerce Department more than a year ago alleging that domestic lumber producers had been harmed by Canadian softwood lumber imports and asking for countervailing and antidumping duties. "Since 1981, some of the large U.S. producers and landowners have periodically charged Canada with subsidizing its lumber industry, and they have consistently lost when Canada has appealed preliminary decisions," Petniunas said. "The summer WTO ruling, that there is no illegal subsidy of lumber by Canada, continues to show that the U.S. actions are not based on the facts. We believe the Commerce Department will continue to get failing grades from on-going WTO and NAFTA reviews of their actions over the past year. The madness should end, and the administration should sue for free trade in lumber with Canada." Similar resolutions were introduced in the U.S. House and Senate last year and also in the last session of Congress urging free trade on Canadian lumber. H. Con. Res. 45 and S. Con. Res. 4 garnered more than 110 sponsors earlier in the session. Members of the U.S. House and Senate also have written letters to President Bush over the past three years opposing any trade restrictions on Canadian lumber and indicating their support for free trade in lumber between the U.S. and Canada. "It's time for our trade policy to reflect fairness to all of the stakeholders, including consumers, specifically in discussions about trade in lumber," said Sen. Don Nickles (R-OK), lead sponsor of the Senate resolution. American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH) represents more than 95 percent of U.S. softwood consumption. Industries that depend on lumber as an input and that oppose import restrictions include: manufacturers of value-added wood products, lumber dealers, manufactured and on-site home builders, and remodeling contractors. These industries employ more than 6.5 million workers, 25 to one when compared with those in the forestry industry. ACAH members include: American Homeowners Grassroots Alliance, Catamount Pellet Fuel Corporation, CHEP International, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Consumers for World Trade, Fremont Forest Group Corporation, Free Trade Lumber Council, The Home Depot, International Mass Retail Association, International Sleep Products Association, Leggett & Platt Inc., Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, Manufactured Housing Institute, National Association of Home Builders, National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, National Retail Federation, and the United States Hispanic Contractors Association.

10/16/2002
Congressional Resolutions Urge Bush: End 27 Percent Federal Tax On Canadian Lumber Imports Essential for Homes, Other Uses
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Congressional Resolutions Urge Bush: End 27 Percent Federal Tax On Canadian Lumber Imports Essential for Homes, Other Uses

Congressmen Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) and Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) have introduced an updated concurrent resolution calling on President George W. Bush to pursue discussions with the Canadian Government to "promote open trade between the United States and Canada on softwood lumber, free of trade restraints that harm consumers." The resolution aims to: ensure a competitive North American market for softwood lumber; ensure free trade regarding softwood lumber between the U.S. and Canada;

10/16/2002
The Stranglehold on American Commerce
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Press Release

The Stranglehold on American Commerce

"We now have a new dock boss. His name is George W. Bush. Will the workers listen to Boy George? I don't know." Richard Mead President, Local 10 San FranciscoQuoted in the New York Times

10/09/2002
Consumers File Amicus Brief With NAFTA Opposing Canadian Softwood Lumber Duties
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Consumers File Amicus Brief With NAFTA Opposing Canadian Softwood Lumber Duties

* Brief asks NAFTA to remand U.S. International Trade Commission decision on threat of injury to U.S. producers from Canadian imports * 27 percent countervail and antidumping duties unfairly price potential homeowners out of the housing market WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- A friend-of-the-court brief was filed yesterday on behalf of the National Association of Home Builders and the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association urging a North American Free Trade Agreement bi-national panel to reject 27 percent duties resulting from a U.S. International Trade Commissions (ITC) finding of "threat of material injury" to U.S. lumber producers from Canadian softwood lumber imports. Last May, the ITC found that a potential threat existed, even though it found no evidence of an actual injury to U.S. industry. It approved 27 percent Commerce Department duties on Canadian softwood lumber imports, which went into effect later that month. Yesterday's brief, filed on behalf of two members of the American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH), an 18 member Alliance of U.S. lumber consumers and free trade advocates who comprise more than 95 percent of domestic and imported lumber consumption, is the only way consumers can be heard on this trade issue, according to an ACAH spokesperson. "The brief represents lumber dealers, home builders and other industries that rely on Canadian lumber -- from all regions of the country -- representing the broad cross section of Americans who are being harmed by what amounts to a 27 percent federal sales tax imposed on lumber," said Susan Petniunas, spokesperson for the ACAH. "It is unfortunate that trade laws do not allow consumers direct participation on an equal basis with industry in disputes like this. After all, consumers are the ones who end up paying the cost in higher prices, just to benefit a few U.S. companies." The brief includes extensive documentation that there is little overlapping among U.S. produced timber species and those imported from Canada, and that Canadian softwood lumber is not an adequate substitute for U. S. southern yellow pine in most of its uses. Each type of lumber has distinct properties, functions and applications that can make it a poor substitute for other species, homebuilders and lumber dealers testified before the ITC. Most lumber produced in the U.S. is southern yellow pine. In Canada, most timber harvested is spruce pine fir. The U.S. relies on imported lumber to meet about 30 percent of its needs. "If the entire 27 percent duties are passed on to U.S. consumers, they could add as much as $1,000 to the cost of a new home, and price as many as 300,000 families out of the housing market," Petniunas said. "These potential home buyers would not able to qualify for mortgages," she added. "And while $1,000 may not sound like much to some people, for many first-time homeowners and seniors seeking to reduce their housing costs in retirement, it can make the difference between being able to buy a home or not," she said. The Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports, led by International Paper, Potlatch, Plum Creek, Sierra Pacific, Temple Inland, and southern landowners, filed petitions alleging that they have been harmed by Canadian softwood lumber imports and asking for countervailing and antidumping duties. More than 100 members of the U.S. House and Senate have signed resolutions or written letters to President George W. Bush over the past year, indicating their support for free trade in lumber, and urging no new taxes or penalties on consumers. Approximately six million U.S. workers are involved in lumber- consuming businesses, including homebuilders, remodelers, lumber dealers, and such industries as window and bed makers. U.S. workers for lumber-consuming industries outnumber lumber-producing workers by 30 to 1. ACAH members include American Homeowners Grassroots Alliance, Catamount Pellet Fuel Corporation, CHEP International, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Consumers for World Trade, Free Trade Lumber Council, Fremont Forest Group Corporation, The Home Depot, International Mass Retail Association, International Sleep Products Association, Leggett & Platt Inc., Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, Manufactured Housing Institute, National Association of Home Builders, National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, National Retail Federation, and the United States Hispanic Contractors Association. http://www.acah.org

10/08/2002
Consumers File Amicus Brief With NAFTA Opposing Canadian Softwood Lumber Duties
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Consumers File Amicus Brief With NAFTA Opposing Canadian Softwood Lumber Duties

A friend-of-the-court brief was filed yesterday on behalf of the National Association of Home Builders and the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association urging a North American Free Trade Agreement bi-national panel to reject 27 percent duties resulting from a U.S. International Trade Commissions (ITC) finding of "threat of material injury" to U.S. lumber producers from Canadian softwood lumber imports. Last May, the ITC found that a potential threat existed, even though it found no evidence of an actual injury to U.S. industry. It approved 27 percent Commerce Department duties on Canadian softwood lumber imports, which went into effect later that month. Yesterday's brief, filed on behalf of two members of the American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH), an 18 member Alliance of U.S. lumber consumers and free trade advocates who comprise more than 95 percent of domestic and imported lumber consumption, is the only way consumers can be heard on this trade issue, according to an ACAH spokesperson. "The brief represents lumber dealers, home builders and other industries that rely on Canadian lumber -- from all regions of the country -- representing the broad cross section of Americans who are being harmed by what amounts to a 27 percent federal sales tax imposed on lumber," said Susan Petniunas, spokesperson for the ACAH. "It is unfortunate that trade laws do not allow consumers direct participation on an equal basis with industry in disputes like this. After all, consumers are the ones who end up paying the cost in higher prices, just to benefit a few U.S. companies." The brief includes extensive documentation that there is little overlapping among U.S. produced timber species and those imported from Canada, and that Canadian softwood lumber is not an adequate substitute for U. S. southern yellow pine in most of its uses. Each type of lumber has distinct properties, functions and applications that can make it a poor substitute for other species, homebuilders and lumber dealers testified before the ITC. Most lumber produced in the U.S. is southern yellow pine. In Canada, most timber harvested is spruce pine fir. The U.S. relies on imported lumber to meet about 30 percent of its needs. "If the entire 27 percent duties are passed on to U.S. consumers, they could add as much as $1,000 to the cost of a new home, and price as many as 300,000 families out of the housing market," Petniunas said. "These potential home buyers would not able to qualify for mortgages," she added. "And while $1,000 may not sound like much to some people, for many first-time homeowners and seniors seeking to reduce their housing costs in retirement, it can make the difference between being able to buy a home or not," she said. The Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports, led by International Paper, Potlatch, Plum Creek, Sierra Pacific, Temple Inland, and southern landowners, filed petitions alleging that they have been harmed by Canadian softwood lumber imports and asking for countervailing and antidumping duties. More than 100 members of the U.S. House and Senate have signed resolutions or written letters to President George W. Bush over the past year, indicating their support for free trade in lumber, and urging no new taxes or penalties on consumers. Approximately six million U.S. workers are involved in lumber- consuming businesses, including homebuilders, remodelers, lumber dealers, and such industries as window and bed makers. U.S. workers for lumber-consuming industries outnumber lumber-producing workers by 30 to 1. ACAH members include American Homeowners Grassroots Alliance, Catamount Pellet Fuel Corporation, CHEP International, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Consumers for World Trade, Free Trade Lumber Council, Fremont Forest Group Corporation, The Home Depot, International Mass Retail Association, International Sleep Products Association, Leggett & Platt Inc., Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, Manufactured Housing Institute, National Association of Home Builders, National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, National Retail Federation, and the United States Hispanic Contractors Association. http://www.acah.org

10/08/2002
Sitting on the Dock of the Bay
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Press Release

Sitting on the Dock of the Bay

Today, international trade is at a standstill in 29 ports across the Western United States. Normally bustling docks are quiet, as cargo ships stack up offshore in the Pacific Ocean.

10/02/2002
Brainstorm 2002
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Press Release

Brainstorm 2002

© 2002 Copley News Service, 8/6/2002 Last week I attended a remarkable conference put on by Fortune magazine, "Brainstorm 2002," which I believe very well may come to supercede Devos as the most important world forum on globalization and how to help lift poor countries out of poverty by strengthening the world trading system and expanding liberal democracy. More than 200 of the world's most diverse thinkers and doers assembled in Aspen, Colo., to think about and discuss the world's problems, challenges and opportunities for integration, unification and democratization.

08/06/2002
New Senate Bi-Partisan Resolution Urges President Bush To Promote Open Lumber Trade Between U.S. and Canada
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New Senate Bi-Partisan Resolution Urges President Bush To Promote Open Lumber Trade Between U.S. and Canada

A bi-partisan resolution (Sen. Con. Res. 135) introduced in the U. S. Senate late yesterday (Thursday) by Senators Don Nickles (R-OK), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Pat Roberts (R-KS), James Inhofe (R-OK), Jim Bunning (R-KY), Bob Graham (D-FL), Evan Bayh (D-IN), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Jean Carnahan (D-MO) urges President Bush to pursue discussions with the Canadian Government to "promote open trade between the United States and Canada on softwood lumber, free of trade restraints that harm consumers." The World Trade Organization (WTO) found on July 26 that the Department of Commerce action imposing preliminary countervailing duties a year ago on Canadian softwood lumber imports should be overturned, and is in violation of WTO's rules. That announcement is expected to be officially made next month and could be followed by three months of appeals. A similar WTO challenge has been made by Canada on the preliminary antidumping duties and is expected to be known in August. Today's resolution asks the Administration not to intervene to impede the current challenges by Canada in the WTO and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to determine whether the U.S. countervailing and antidumping duties are legal under international trade rules. The duties are harming U.S. consumers, according to ACAH spokesperson Susan Petniunas. "The final 27 percent countervail and antidumping duties imposed last May on finished lumber for framing homes and remodeling, may increase the average cost of a new home by more than $1,000," she said. Based on information from the U.S. Census Bureau, that additional $1,000 prevents more than 300,000 families from qualifying for home mortgages." The U.S. Department of Commerce imposed the duties in May after the International Trade Commission (ITC) found that there was a potential for a "threat" to U.S. lumber producers from Canadian lumber imports. The ITC also concluded, however, that there was no evidence that Canadian lumber imports had harmed the U.S. industry at that time. The duties have been opposed by a broad-based alliance of consumer groups, trade organizations, and companies that represent more than 95 percent of U.S. softwood lumber consumption, American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH). "The duties amount to a federally imposed 27 percent sales tax on first-time homebuyers," said Petniunas. "Consumers' interests should be a major factor considered by the Administration, and we appreciate the Senators urging President Bush to do so," Petniunas said. "These duties hurt our ability to provide affordable housing, and jobs within lumber consuming industries." Because there are not enough trees available to produce framing lumber for home building in the U.S., Canadian lumber imports are absolutely vital for the construction of affordable new homes, and to make improvements on existing homes in America. The U.S. relies on Canada and other sources for approximately 37 percent of the lumber it needs. Led by International Paper, Potlatch, Plum Creek, Sierra Pacific, Temple Inland and southern landowners, the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports filed petitions with the U.S. Commerce Department more than a year ago alleging that domestic lumber producers had been harmed by Canadian softwood lumber imports and asking for countervailing and antidumping duties. "Since 1983, some of the large U.S. producers and landowners have periodically charged Canada with subsidizing its lumber industry, and they have consistently lost when Canada has appealed preliminary decisions," Petniunas said. "The July 26 WTO ruling that there is no illegal subsidy of lumber by Canada continues to show that the U.S. actions are not based on the facts. We believe the Commerce Department will continue to get failing grades from on-going WTO and NAFTA reviews of their actions over the past year." Similar resolutions were introduced last year and the year before urging free trade on Canadian lumber. H. Con. Res. 45 and S. Con. Res. 4 garnered more than 110 sponsors. Members of the U.S. House and Senate also have written letters to President Bush over the past three years opposing any trade restrictions on Canadian lumber and indicating their support for free trade in lumber between the U.S. and Canada. "It's time for our trade policy to reflect fairness to all of the stakeholders, including consumers, in discussions about trade in lumber," said Sen. Nickles. ACAH members include American Homeowners Grassroots Alliance, Catamount Pellet Fuel Corporation, CHEP International, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Consumers for World Trade, Freemont Forest Group Corporation, Free Trade Lumber Council, The Home Depot, International Mass Retail Association, International Sleep Products Association, Leggett & Platt Inc., Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, Manufactured Housing Institute, National Association of Home Builders, National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, National Retail Federation, and the United States Hispanic Contractors Association.

08/02/2002
New Senate Bi-Partisan Resolution Urges President Bush To Promote Open Lumber Trade Between U.S. and Canada
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New Senate Bi-Partisan Resolution Urges President Bush To Promote Open Lumber Trade Between U.S. and Canada

- Introduction comes on the heels of WTO finding that the Commerce Department improperly ruled that Canadian lumber is subsidized - Consumer Representatives Applaud Senate action; Duties keep more than 300,000 U.S. families from home ownership - 27 Percent Duties Imposed in May by U.S. Government on Canadian Lumber are 'Federally imposed sales-tax on consumers, homebuyers' WASHINGTON, Aug. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- A bi-partisan resolution (Sen. Con. Res. 135) introduced in the U. S. Senate late yesterday (Thursday) by Senators Don Nickles (R-OK), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Pat Roberts (R-KS), James Inhofe (R-OK), Jim Bunning (R-KY), Bob Graham (D-FL), Evan Bayh (D-IN), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Jean Carnahan (D-MO) urges President Bush to pursue discussions with the Canadian Government to "promote open trade between the United States and Canada on softwood lumber, free of trade restraints that harm consumers." The World Trade Organization (WTO) found on July 26 that the Department of Commerce action imposing preliminary countervailing duties a year ago on Canadian softwood lumber imports should be overturned, and is in violation of WTO's rules. That announcement is expected to be officially made next month and could be followed by three months of appeals. A similar WTO challenge has been made by Canada on the preliminary antidumping duties and is expected to be known in August. Today's resolution asks the Administration not to intervene to impede the current challenges by Canada in the WTO and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to determine whether the U.S. countervailing and antidumping duties are legal under international trade rules. The duties are harming U.S. consumers, according to ACAH spokesperson Susan Petniunas. "The final 27 percent countervail and antidumping duties imposed last May on finished lumber for framing homes and remodeling, may increase the average cost of a new home by more than $1,000," she said. Based on information from the U.S. Census Bureau, that additional $1,000 prevents more than 300,000 families from qualifying for home mortgages." The U.S. Department of Commerce imposed the duties in May after the International Trade Commission (ITC) found that there was a potential for a "threat" to U.S. lumber producers from Canadian lumber imports. The ITC also concluded, however, that there was no evidence that Canadian lumber imports had harmed the U.S. industry at that time. The duties have been opposed by a broad-based alliance of consumer groups, trade organizations, and companies that represent more than 95 percent of U.S. softwood lumber consumption, American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH). "The duties amount to a federally imposed 27 percent sales tax on first-time homebuyers," said Petniunas. "Consumers' interests should be a major factor considered by the Administration, and we appreciate the Senators urging President Bush to do so," Petniunas said. "These duties hurt our ability to provide affordable housing, and jobs within lumber consuming industries." Because there are not enough trees available to produce framing lumber for home building in the U.S., Canadian lumber imports are absolutely vital for the construction of affordable new homes, and to make improvements on existing homes in America. The U.S. relies on Canada and other sources for approximately 37 percent of the lumber it needs. Led by International Paper, Potlatch, Plum Creek, Sierra Pacific, Temple Inland and southern landowners, the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports filed petitions with the U.S. Commerce Department more than a year ago alleging that domestic lumber producers had been harmed by Canadian softwood lumber imports and asking for countervailing and antidumping duties. "Since 1983, some of the large U.S. producers and landowners have periodically charged Canada with subsidizing its lumber industry, and they have consistently lost when Canada has appealed preliminary decisions," Petniunas said. "The July 26 WTO ruling that there is no illegal subsidy of lumber by Canada continues to show that the U.S. actions are not based on the facts. We believe the Commerce Department will continue to get failing grades from on-going WTO and NAFTA reviews of their actions over the past year." Similar resolutions were introduced last year and the year before urging free trade on Canadian lumber. H. Con. Res. 45 and S. Con. Res. 4 garnered more than 110 sponsors. Members of the U.S. House and Senate also have written letters to President Bush over the past three years opposing any trade restrictions on Canadian lumber and indicating their support for free trade in lumber between the U.S. and Canada. "It's time for our trade policy to reflect fairness to all of the stakeholders, including consumers, in discussions about trade in lumber," said Sen. Nickles. ACAH members include American Homeowners Grassroots Alliance, Catamount Pellet Fuel Corporation, CHEP International, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Consumers for World Trade, Freemont Forest Group Corporation, Free Trade Lumber Council, The Home Depot, International Mass Retail Association, International Sleep Products Association, Leggett & Platt Inc., Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, Manufactured Housing Institute, National Association of Home Builders, National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, National Retail Federation, and the United States Hispanic Contractors Association. Text of Sen. Con. Res. 135 follows: Initial Sponsors: Senators Don Nickles (R-OK), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Pat Roberts (R-KS), James Inhofe (R-OK), Jim Bunning (R-KY), Bob Graham (D-FL), Evan Bayh (D-IN), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Jean Carnahan (D-MO) Expressing the sense of the Congress regarding housing affordability and urging fair and expeditious review by international trade tribunals to ensure a competitive North American market for softwood lumber. Whereas the United States and Canada have, since 1989, worked to eliminate tariff and nontariff barriers to trade; Whereas free trade has greatly benefited the United States and Canadian economies; Whereas the U.S. International Trade Commission only found the potential for a Threat of Injury (as opposed to actual injury) to domestic lumber producers but the Department of Commerce imposed a 27% duty on U.S. lumber consumers; Whereas trade restrictions on Canadian lumber exported to the U.S. market have been an exception to the general rule of bilateral free trade; Whereas the legitimate interests of consumers are often overlooked in trade disputes; Whereas the availability of affordable housing is important to American home buyers and the need for the availability of such housing, particularly in metropolitan cities across America, is growing faster than it can be met; Whereas imposition of special duties on U.S. consumers of softwood lumber, essential for construction of on-site and manufactured homes, jeopardizes housing affordability, and Whereas the United States has agreed to abide by dispute settlement procedures in the world trade organization and the North American Free Trade Agreement, providing for international review of national remedy actions; and, Whereas the World Trade Organization and North American Free Trade Agreement dispute panels are reviewing findings by the ITC: Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the U.S. Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that it is the sense of the Congress that -- 1) The Department of Commerce and U.S. Trade Representative should work to assure that no delays occur in resolving the current disputes before the NAFTA and WTO panels, supporting a fair and expeditious review; 2) U.S. anti-dumping and countervail law is a rules-based system that should proceed to conclusion in WTO and NAFTA trade panels; 3) The President should continue discussions with the Government of Canada to promote open trade between the United States and Canada on softwood lumber free of trade restraints that harm consumers; 4) The President should consult with all stakeholders, including consumers of lumber products in future discussions regarding any terms of trade in softwood lumber between the United States and Canada.

08/02/2002

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