An arbitration court has ruled in Canada's favor and against the U.S. in a case dealing with British Columbia's timber pricing.
In a July 18 decision, a London Court of International Arbitration tribunal found the pricing did not violate the 2006 U.S.-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA), officials from both countries said.
Ed Fast, Canada's minister of international trade, called the ruling good news for British Columbia forestry workers. Canada argued that a beetle infestation was the main reason for a low price rating on a large volume of logs. The U.S. said provincial actions affected prices, too. Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Nkenge Harmon said the tribunal could not find "a conclusive link" between prices and Canadian government actions.
Harmon said U.S. officials "remain concerned that British Columbia provided publicly owned timber … to softwood-lumber producers for prices far below market value." Steve Swanson, chairman of the U.S. Lumber Coalition, an industry group, called Canada's SLA compliance "a serious problem" and said the U.S. industry "will need to assess the value of the SLA at an appropriate time."
Under the pact, which aimed to settle a long trade fight, Canada imposed charges and limits on lumber exported to the U.S. when prices hit certain levels. The U.S. ended duties on Canadian lumber and refunded $4 billion it had collected. In January, the countries extended the SLA for two years, through Oct. 12, 2015.