Maritime Premiers Push Softwood Lumber With U.S. Commerce Secretary

Premier's Office

November 5, 2003 2:54 PM

Premier John Hamm and his fellow Maritime premiers pushed the
region's unique position in the ongoing Canada-U.S. softwood
lumber dispute during a meeting Tuesday, Nov. 4, with United
States Commerce Secretary Donald Evans.

The three Maritime premiers, along with senior officials from
Newfoundland and Labrador, are in Washington, D.C., this week for
the Team Canada Atlantic trade mission.

"It's important for the thousands of Nova Scotians who depend on
softwood lumber for their livelihoods that, as their premier, I
take every opportunity possible to raise this issue," said
Premier Hamm. "The United States has long recognized that
Atlantic Canada has not been part of the problem and should
therefore be treated as a free trading partner, distinct from the
rest of Canada."

Unlike softwood lumber harvested in the rest of Canada, 75 per
cent of Atlantic Canadian lumber comes from private land. As a
result of this private sector focus, Atlantic Canada's producers
have been exempted from all previous export taxes and quota
arrangements since 1987.

Last year, the United States Department of Commerce excluded the
Atlantic provinces from the current countervailing duties case
and the 18.79 per cent duty levied against the rest of Canada.
This past July, United States Commerce Undersecretary Grant
Aldonas agreed in principle to the exclusion of Atlantic Canada
from an interim agreement had the dispute been resolved by way of
a negotiated solution.

The premiers, however, are worried Atlantic Canada might be
included in any new measures taken by the United States against
Canada.

"In Atlantic Canada, we are free and fair traders, producing
softwood lumber for export based primarily on the free market,"
said Premier Hamm. "We must take every opportunity to remind the
United States and our own federal government that we should
continue to grow and prosper through free trade, without the
imposition of any new barriers."


FOR BROADCAST USE:

     Premier John Hamm and his fellow Maritime leaders raised

the issue of softwood lumber in a meeting Tuesday (November 4th)

with U-S Commerce Secretary Donald Evans.

     Premier Hamm says the U-S has long recognized that Atlantic

Canada has not been a part of the ongoing dispute and should be

treated as such.

     Unlike the rest of Canada, most of Atlantic Canada's

softwood lumber comes from private lands, something the U-S has

no problem with.

     While the Americans have excluded Atlantic Canada from trade

penalties in the past, the premiers are worried the region might

be included in new measures.

     Premier Hamm says thousands of Nova Scotians whose

livelihoods depend on softwood lumber expect him to raise the

issue at every opportunity.

     The premiers are in Washington, D-C, this week for the Team

Canada Atlantic trade mission.

-30-

Contact: Robert Batherson
         Premier's Office
         902-424-6601
         E-mail: batherrk@gov.ns.ca


kjd         November 5, 2003         2:53 P.M.