+ RMA Rural Municipalities
of Alberta

Resolution 17-02F

Softwood Lumber Industry

January 1, 2002
Expiry Date:
December 1, 2005
Active Status:
Vote Results:

WHEREAS when Canada entered into a North American Free Trade Agreement it was understood that this meant there would be unencumbered free trade between Canada and the United States;AND WHEREAS the softwood lumber agreement between Canada and the United States expired on March 31, 2001, and the U.S. Department of Commerce subsequently implemented anti-dumping and countervailing duties totalling 27.22% on Canadian softwood lumber;AND WHEREAS the 27.22% tariffs effective on May 23, 2002 will result in an estimated $3 billion paid directly to lumber barons in the U.S. every year;AND WHEREAS on three separate occasions over the past 20 years similar U.S. claims that Canadian softwood lumber is subsidized were found to be unsubstantiated;AND WHEREAS Canada over the past year has sought a durable, long-term solution to the softwood lumber dispute through negotiations with the U.S., and the U.S. has rejected all proposals presented;AND WHEREAS the forest industry contributes $34 billion in trade and $9.5 billion in taxes to Canada annually;AND WHEREAS 1,200 Canadian communities depend substantially on this industry, and 350 communities rely entirely on the strength of the forest industry for their prosperity;AND WHEREAS the impacts of these tariffs are also affecting American consumers wanting to build affordable housing or renovate their homes;AND WHEREAS the result of this trade dispute could affect the trade of other Canadian commodities such as energy, agricultural products and steel;

Operative Clause:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the federal and provincial/territorial governments to recognize that the Canadian forest industry must have unencumbered access to the U.S. market and that therefore governments must pursue all avenues of activity to provide such access, including dialogue and discussions as well as legal avenues through the WTO and NAFTA;AND FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the AAMDC urge the federal government to work closely with, and support, the provinces/territories to ensure that all parties remain united in reaching a long-term solution that recognizes unrestricted free trade so that Canadians do not fall prey to U .S. protectionism;AND FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the AAMDC communicate this resolution to all Alberta Members of Parliament, provincial/territorial natural resources/forestry ministers, the Prime Minister, the Minister of International Trade, federal opposition leaders, community media, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

Member Background:

This model resolution is based upon work done by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Task Force on Softwood Lumber, and is intended to support the efforts of the Task Force. The Task Force was formed in September 2001 to develop strategies and solutions in response to the 19.3% countervailing duty applied by the United States on Canadian softwood lumber exports. On October 31, 2001, an additional anti-dumping charge of 12.8% was imposed. A final 27.22% tariff was imposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce on March 22, 2002. As of May 23, 2002, the duty is applied to any Canadian softwood lumber exports to the U.S. It is estimated that this will result in $3 billion annually being paid directly to the U.S. by the lumber industry.The Canadian forest industry contributes $34 billion in trade and $9.5 billion in taxes annually to Canada. With thousands of jobs and economic growth attributed to the forest industry, over 1,200 communities depend substantially on the forest industry and 350 communities rely on it entirely. The softwood lumber dispute is therefore having devastating effects on Canadian resource-based communities.The five-year softwood lumber agreement between Canada and the U.S. expired on March 31, 2001. At that time, U.S. lumber producers stated that Canada subsidized its softwood lumber industry. The U.S. has claimed this on three separate occasions over the past 20 years, and it has never been substantiated.

RMA Background:

The AAMDC has no resolutions currently in effect with respect to this matter.

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