U.S. taking Canada to arbitration over softwood

The beetle infestation that has ravaged the dense forests of the B.C. Interior could wind up costing Canada a good deal more – up to a half-billion dollars in penalties to the United States.

The Obama administration opened an aggressive new legal front in the enduring trade fight over lucrative softwood lumber exports, accusing Canada of violating a 2006 deal by allowing British Columbia to sell vast quantities of cut-rate, Crown-owned timber to lumber companies.

“When we believe our trading partners are not living up to their obligations, we will not hesitate to enforce our rights,” U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said.