The U.S. Lumber Coalition is calling into question recently announced and implied aid programs across Canada that are to benefit the Canadian lumber and forest products industry, which are under stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a press release the Coalition said, “The Coalition will closely examine the details of each and every announcement of aid and will aggressively pursue any initiative that constitutes further aid to the already heavily subsidized Canadian softwood lumber industry.” The one new policy that is of greatest concern is the recently announced Province of British Columbia deferral of stumpage fees, the fee forest operators pay the province to harvest, buy or sell trees, for the next 3 months. B.C. Forest Minister Doug Donaldson defended the decision saying it should help forest companies with their finances during the crisis. Donaldson also pointed this is a deferral, not a subsidy and that all fees will have to repaid and with interest. In a statement Jason Brochu, Co-President of Pleasant River Lumber Company, Maine, said “The U.S. lumber industry will continue to push for the full enforcement of the U.S. trade laws against Canada’s unfair trade practices so that the U.S. lumber industry, and the 350,000 men and women who support it can continue to compete on a level playing field in a fair-trade environment.”
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American lumber companies speak out against Canadian aid programs