October 05,2005

Baucus Blasts NAFTA Panel Ruling on Lumber

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) Senator Max Baucus, ranking member of the Senate FinanceCommittee, issued the following response to reports that a NAFTA panel again ruled against theU.S. softwood lumber industry:

“I am extremely disappointed that this NAFTA panel failed to defer to the CommerceDepartment’s calculations. Every body that has examined the issue – the CommerceDepartment, the WTO, and even NAFTA – agrees that Canada subsidizes its lumber exports tothe United States. The Commerce Department needs to develop a methodology that capturesthat subsidy and defends lumber producers in Montana and across the nation against this unfairtrade.

“NAFTA decisions like this threaten the integrity of the system, erode support for the NAFTA,and inflame passions in both Canada and the United States. They also reaffirm my strong beliefthat litigation in this case has not worked. With each decision, resolution of the dispute seemsfarther away.

“It is high time for both sides to return to negotiating table to craft a durable resolution to thisdispute. I urge Ambassador Portman and Canada’s Trade Minister Peterson to get their teamstogether as quickly as possible. Time is of the essence.”