B.C. claims 'total victory' in softwood dispute with U.S.

British Columbia lumber producers avoided a $300-million penalty Wednesday after an international business court rejected claims by United States rivals that B.C. cheated on terms of a Canada-U.S. trade pact.

The U.S. alleged in 2011 that B.C. producers and the province had used the devastation caused to Interior forests by the mountain pine beetle to justify low stumpage rates — and that export volumes of lumber appeared to exceed the production expected from the harvest of beetle-damaged wood.

The U.S. claimed B.C.’s actions were in violation of the portion of the 2006 Canada-U.S. Softwood lumber agreement (SLA) that covers B.C. timber pricing policies.