Weyerhaeuser Company (NYSE: WY) said six days of negotiations hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce to find a solution to the softwood lumber dispute between the United States and Canada have been constructive, and the company looks forward to resuming them as early as possible.
Steven R. Rogel, chairman, president and chief executive officer, represented Weyerhaeuser at the opening of negotiations, which included industry and government officials from the United States and Canada.
Describing the talks as "candid and constructive," Rogel said progress has been made on the policy approaches, and he praised the Department of Commerce for its leadership role in bringing both sides to the table.
"There's general agreement that the two-step approach that we and others proposed the end of last year is workable. We're pleased with the work that's been done, and we credit Commerce for bringing everyone together," Rogel said.
In May 2002, as replacement for a softwood lumber quota system that expired in April 2001, the United States imposed countervailing duties averaging 18.79 percent and anti-dumping duties averaging 8.43 percent against Canadian lumber imports. With 17 of its 44 sawmills based in Canada, Weyerhaeuser paid $64 million in countervailing and anti-dumping duties, and related costs in 2002.
Under a Weyerhaeuser plan proposed last November, both sides would agree to replace the countervailing and anti-dumping duties with an interim sliding-scale border tax levied by Canada. This, Rogel said, would give both sides time to work out the complex details of a longer-term solution whereby Canada would adopt forest policy changes resulting in a changed circumstances review by the Department of Commerce that could eliminate some or all of the duties.
"The true measure of the proposed policy changes must be to ensure that mills on both sides of the border respond to market forces in a similar manner during periods of low demand and pricing," Rogel said.
"There are many details yet to work out," Rogel continued. "The parties are taking a brief break, but a date will be set to get back together as soon as possible. All sides know that we have a limited window of opportunity to get this resolved, or face interminable legal battles," he concluded.
Weyerhaeuser Company, one of the world's largest integrated forest products companies, was incorporated in 1900. In 2002, sales were Cdn$29.1 billion (US$18.5 billion). It has offices or operations in 18 countries, with customers worldwide. Weyerhaeuser is principally engaged in the growing and harvesting of timber; the manufacture, distribution and sale of forest products; and real estate construction, development and related activities. Weyerhaeuser Company Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary, has Exchangeable Shares listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol WYL. Additional information about Weyerhaeuser's businesses, products and practices is available at http://www.weyerhaeuser.com/ .
CONTACT: media, Paul Barnum, +1-253-924-3920, or analysts, Kathryn McAuley, +1-253-924-2058, both of Weyerhaeuser Company Limited.
SOURCE: Weyerhaeuser Company Limited
CONTACT: media, Paul Barnum, +1-253-924-3920, or analysts,
Kathryn McAuley, +1-253-924-2058, both of Weyerhaeuser Company Limited
Web site: http://www.weyerhaeuser.com/