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BRITISH COLUMBIA TIMBER SUBSIDIES CONTINUE, SAYS FORMER OFFICIAL

 BRITISH COLUMBIA TIMBER SUBSIDIES CONTINUE, SAYS FORMER OFFICIAL
 WASHINGTON, April 29 /PRNewswire/ -- British Columbia, which accounts for about 90 percent of Canada's lumber exports to the United States, continues to subsidize its timber industry, according to a former British Columbia Minister of Forests.
 "British Columbia timber subsidies continue and, worse, this timber giveaway is wasting the resource and depriving taxpayers of a fair return," Jack Kempf today told a Commerce Department hearing on the countervailing duty investigation of subsidized Canadian softwood lumber imports.
 On March 6, the Commerce Department ruled in a preliminary decision that lumber imports from Canada were subsidized and that a 14.48 percent duty was required to offset the subsidies. The department is expected to make its final subsidy ruling May 19.
 Michael Stein, counsel for the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports, told the hearing that the Commerce Department's preliminary ruling "underestimated significantly Canadian subsidies."
 Former British Columbia Forest Minister Jack Kempf testified that the Canadian province is "not yet ready or willing to end the era of subsidies and bring fairness into the system." He said the subsidies were designed to create development and jobs, but "instead...dramatically increased the harvest and the level of lumber production."
 Kempf said the subsidized system has "cost both British Columbia and the U.S. industry a bundle." He concluded that "in order to resolve both our problems we must, in British Columbia, return to a market-driven system of evaluating our timber's worth."
 Kempf was a member of the British Columbia legislature for 16 years and Minister of Forests from August 1986 to March 1987. He testified on behalf of the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports.
 The Coalition is composed of lumber companies across the United States and the major U.S. lumber manufacturing associations. Member companies include Georgia-Pacific Corp., Temple-Inland Inc., Potlatch Corp. and International Paper Co.
 -0- 4/29/92
 /CONTACT: Sheila Weidman of Georgia-Pacific, 404-521-4732 (office) or 404-594-9628 (after hours); Patrick Wallace of Knapp Inc., 404-688-1777 (office) or 404-973-1719 (after hours), for Georgia- Pacific; or John Ragosta of Dewey Ballantine, 202-862-1025 (office), for the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports/ CO: Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports ST: Georgia IN: PAP SU:


BN-EA -- AT016 -- 4627 04/29/92 17:35 EDT
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Date:Apr 29, 1992
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