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BRITISH COLUMBIA TO FIGHT UNFAIR U.S. RULING

 BRITISH COLUMBIA TO FIGHT UNFAIR U.S. RULING
 VICTORIA, British Columbia, March 6 /PRNewswire/ -- A U.S.


Department of Commerce ruling that British Columbia subsidizes the production of lumber is unfair, hypocritical and harmful, Forests Minister Dan Miller and Trade Minister David Zirnhelt said today.
 The Department of Commerce, in a March 5 preliminary countervailing duty ruling, imposed an interim tariff requiring importers of B.C. lumber to provide a bond or cash deposit equal to the alleged subsidy rate of 14.48 percent.
 The interim tariff is a national rate, applying equally to all the provinces with the exception of the Maritimes who were exempted from the countervail investigation.
 The Department of Commerce said that the provinces' timber pricing programs provide a 6.25 percent subsidy and log export control programs a further 8.23 percent subsidy.
 "We take the strongest exception to this action," Miller said. "Evidence presented by the Canadian government and our legal counsel in Washington, D.C. clearly shows that our timber pricing and controls on log exports do not provide subsidies and should not be countervailed.
 "Only last year, before this politically-motivated action began, a senior Department of Commerce official testified under oath that British Columbia was not subsidizing its lumber producers, and it is an irrefutable fact that nothing has changed since then.
 "The preliminary ruling is vindictive. It shows the power of American protectionism and the influence of the southern U.S. forest companies," Miller said.
 "But what really offends me is the total hypocrisy of the government in Washington, D.C. taking action against our log export controls when the states in the Pacific Northwest have even more stringent log export controls in place and are trying to strengthen those controls."
 The countervailing duty ruling is preliminary with a final determination in July.
 "We will pursue all means to win this case, including appeals, if necessary, before dispute settlement panels established under the Canada/U.S. Free Trade Agreement," said Zirnhelt.
 -0- 3/6/92
 /CONTACT: Hartley Lewis, director-economics trade branch of Ministry of Forests, Victoria, 604-387-8374, or Lorne Sivertson, assistant deputy minister-economic development division, Ministry of Economic Development, Small Business and Trade, Victoria, 604-356-2415/ CO: Province of British Columbia ST: British Columbia IN: SU:


AL -- LA017 -- 5969 03/06/92 15:52 EST
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Date:Mar 6, 1992
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