CITAC Chairman Jenson Urges International Trade Commission To Heed Consumer Testimony in Softwood Lumber Decision

Apr 23, 2001, 01:00 ET from Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition

    WASHINGTON, April 23 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ -- Consuming
 Industries Trade Action Coalition (CITAC) Chairman Jon Jenson urged the
 International Trade Commission to consider the impact on U.S. consumers before
 placing any restrictions on softwood lumber imports from Canada.
     CITAC urged ITC Commissioners to seriously consider warnings by American
 Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH).  The group testified before the ITC
 today that restrictions on Canadian lumber imports unfairly injure lumber
 consuming industries, their workers and individual American consumers.
     "ACAH and CITAC are working together to eliminate restrictions on the
 imports of softwood lumber from Canada", said Jenson.  "Any new quotas, taxes
 or fees would endanger the competitiveness of homebuilders, lumber dealers,
 furniture manufacturers and many other American companies and threaten the
 jobs of some six million workers they employ."
     The countervailing duty and dumping cases filed by the domestic industry
 only days after the Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) expired at the end of
 March 2001, allege government subsidization of the Canadian lumber industry
 and call for the imposition of duties up to 78 percent.  The SLA, which came
 into affect April 1, 1996 for a period of five years, amounted to a hidden
 lumber tax on U.S. consumers that prevented an estimated 300,000 American
 families from buying new homes.  The petitions now before the ITC would add
 approximately $2,000 - $4,000 to a new home, which according to U.S. Census
 statistics, could exclude 1.2 million American families from the housing
 market.
     "Consumers have limited opportunities to participate in the ITC process,
 and that is why CITAC is urging the ITC to carefully consider the testimony of
 ACAH," stated Jenson.  "U.S. businesses that purchase domestic and imported
 products should have full party status in these types of cases, including the
 right to comment on all the evidence presented."
     CITAC is advocating reforms to U.S. trade law that would make consuming
 industries (purchasers) full parties to trade cases.  CITAC's proposed reforms
 also would provide for an examination of whether the imposition of
 countervailing duties or antidumping duties, would be contrary to the public
 interest, and limit antidumping and countervailing duties to the amount
 necessary to offset the injury suffered by the affected U.S. industry (the
 "lesser duty" rule).  In addition, the reforms would provide U.S. consuming
 industries with an effective and fair mechanism for temporary relief from
 antidumping and countervailing duties for products unavailable from domestic
 sources or in short supply.
     According to Jenson, "Canada clearly has a comparative advantage in
 lumber, so the best scenario for lumber consumers and homebuyers is open trade
 in lumber.  If the domestic industry persists in trying to hinder trade in
 lumber, our government should make certain that the process is fair,
 transparent and open to all affected parties.  Without the participation of
 consuming interests, fairness is not possible."
 
     CITAC is a coalition of companies and organizations committed to promoting
 a trade arena where U.S. consuming industries and their workers have access to
 global markets for imports that enhance the international competitiveness of
 U.S. firms.
 
     CONTACT:  Christina Bucher of The PBN Company, Christina.Bucher@pbnco.com,
 for Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X46558184
 
 

SOURCE Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition
    WASHINGTON, April 23 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ -- Consuming
 Industries Trade Action Coalition (CITAC) Chairman Jon Jenson urged the
 International Trade Commission to consider the impact on U.S. consumers before
 placing any restrictions on softwood lumber imports from Canada.
     CITAC urged ITC Commissioners to seriously consider warnings by American
 Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH).  The group testified before the ITC
 today that restrictions on Canadian lumber imports unfairly injure lumber
 consuming industries, their workers and individual American consumers.
     "ACAH and CITAC are working together to eliminate restrictions on the
 imports of softwood lumber from Canada", said Jenson.  "Any new quotas, taxes
 or fees would endanger the competitiveness of homebuilders, lumber dealers,
 furniture manufacturers and many other American companies and threaten the
 jobs of some six million workers they employ."
     The countervailing duty and dumping cases filed by the domestic industry
 only days after the Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) expired at the end of
 March 2001, allege government subsidization of the Canadian lumber industry
 and call for the imposition of duties up to 78 percent.  The SLA, which came
 into affect April 1, 1996 for a period of five years, amounted to a hidden
 lumber tax on U.S. consumers that prevented an estimated 300,000 American
 families from buying new homes.  The petitions now before the ITC would add
 approximately $2,000 - $4,000 to a new home, which according to U.S. Census
 statistics, could exclude 1.2 million American families from the housing
 market.
     "Consumers have limited opportunities to participate in the ITC process,
 and that is why CITAC is urging the ITC to carefully consider the testimony of
 ACAH," stated Jenson.  "U.S. businesses that purchase domestic and imported
 products should have full party status in these types of cases, including the
 right to comment on all the evidence presented."
     CITAC is advocating reforms to U.S. trade law that would make consuming
 industries (purchasers) full parties to trade cases.  CITAC's proposed reforms
 also would provide for an examination of whether the imposition of
 countervailing duties or antidumping duties, would be contrary to the public
 interest, and limit antidumping and countervailing duties to the amount
 necessary to offset the injury suffered by the affected U.S. industry (the
 "lesser duty" rule).  In addition, the reforms would provide U.S. consuming
 industries with an effective and fair mechanism for temporary relief from
 antidumping and countervailing duties for products unavailable from domestic
 sources or in short supply.
     According to Jenson, "Canada clearly has a comparative advantage in
 lumber, so the best scenario for lumber consumers and homebuyers is open trade
 in lumber.  If the domestic industry persists in trying to hinder trade in
 lumber, our government should make certain that the process is fair,
 transparent and open to all affected parties.  Without the participation of
 consuming interests, fairness is not possible."
 
     CITAC is a coalition of companies and organizations committed to promoting
 a trade arena where U.S. consuming industries and their workers have access to
 global markets for imports that enhance the international competitiveness of
 U.S. firms.
 
     CONTACT:  Christina Bucher of The PBN Company, Christina.Bucher@pbnco.com,
 for Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X46558184
 
 SOURCE  Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition