Canada’s forestry policy came under heavy fire during U.S. Senate hearings last month.
The criticisms came during confirmation hearings for the new U.S. trade representative. He will lead negotiations with Canada on the highly disputed export of Canadian lumber to the U.S.
Almost two-thirds of Canadian lumber gets exported to the U.S., but American business is complaining that low Canadian stumpage fees and loose environmental regulations mean Canadian wood is heavily subsidized.
The Americans say the cheap Canadian wood is costing U.S. jobs.
The Grand Council of the Crees and B.C. First Nations have tried to tap into this U.S. sentiment, saying the cheap Canadian wood is also hurting Native people.
U.S. senators spent most of the confirmation hearings attacking Canadian forestry policy. “This could ignite a trade war,” said Republican Senator Max Baucus. He said Canadians “are very tough customers and they assume we’re going to roll over and turn the other cheek.”
Canadian forestry companies are upset about a quota that was created in 1996 that limits Canadian wood exports to the U.S.