U.S. launches softwood lumber trade complaint over beetle timber

The United States, as expected, has accused Canada of breaking the softwood lumber trade agreement by unfairly lowering the cost of beetle-killed timber in B.C.'s Interior.

U.S. trade representative Ron Kirk said Tuesday the United States has filed for binding arbitration with the London Court of International Arbitration, allowed under the five-year-old trade agreement.

Kirk cited British Columbia's practice of grading beetle-killed timber as salvage, which is priced at 25 cents a cubic metre. The amount of this low-grade timber has increased dramatically, and is not justified, says the U.S.