September 13, 2017 4:30 a.m.
Congressman Peter DeFazio says he was fighting for the U.S. timber industry during testimony to the International Trade Commission on Tuesday.
In that testimony DeFazio called for a ruling against what he terms the “unfair softwood lumber trade practices” employed by the Canadian lumber industry which are “devastating southwest Oregon’s timber industry”.
A release from DeFazio says the ITC is currently hearing arguments on whether Canadian softwood lumber imports are damaging to the U.S. timber industry. The release says that unlike the U.S. timber industry, the Canadian timber industry is heavily subsidized by the Canadian government. That provides them with an artificially lower cost of production than American timber, which is sold in the free market system, according to the release.
DeFazio says the imbalance is further exacerbated by Canadian producers undercutting U.S. prices and “dumping” softwood lumber in to the U.S. market to “steal market share”. DeFazio says that scenario was confirmed by a U.S. Department of Commerce investigation earlier this year.
The release from DeFazio says that because of the structural differences in markets and timber pricing between the two nations, Canada and the United States have a longstanding series of trade agreements governing timber sales, otherwise known as Softwood Lumber Agreements. With the expiration of the last SLA in 2015, representatives from the U.S. timber industry have petitioned the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission to fully enforce existing U.S. trade laws to ensure a level playing field for softwood lumber trade between the U.S. and Canada.
In his testimony, DeFazio said “this case represents not only fairness in trade, but economic stability for some of our most vulnerable communities”. He said that the U.S. timber industry supports more than 350,000 direct and indirect jobs across the country. The congressman went on to say that “protecting the U.S. softwood lumber industry against unfair competition will promote good manufacturing jobs for Americans, investment in our local communities and economic growth for our country”
A link to Congressman DeFazio’s full testimony is here: