FEDERAL WAY, Wash. – Steven R. Rogel, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Weyerhaeuser Company, sent a letter Friday to President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Jean Chrétien requesting their support for a government-sponsored envoy process to help develop a long-term solution to the softwood lumber dispute between the United States and Canada.
Following is the complete text of Rogel’s letter to President Bush. An identical letter was sent to Prime Minister Chrétien.
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Bush:
Subject: Softwood Lumber Dispute
With the expiry of the U.S./Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) last month, the United States and Canadian governments and forest products industries are now facing a protracted, expensive and uncertain legal process that, in Weyerhaeuser Company’s view, is not likely to resolve the issue.
I am writing to you to respectfully recommend a government-sponsored envoy process—or some form of government-sponsored
negotiations—as a concurrent and separate process from the Countervailing Duty and Anti-Dumping Petition submitted to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Weyerhaeuser Company has concluded that an envoy process is the most likely means of achieving a fair, long-term solution for all parties.
Consumers in the United States depend on Canadian lumber to meet approximately one-third of their housing and repair/remodel needs. The United States does not have the softwood lumber manufacturing capacity, or forest resources, to supply sufficient volume to meet those needs.
With that certainty in mind, I believe it is in the best interests of all parties—on both sides of the border—to undertake a serious, and immediate, effort to reach a negotiated settlement. The principles we would suggest to guide an envoy process are as follows:
- Clarify what is expected of the envoys.
- Allow maximum flexibility on how the envoys carry out their responsibilities.
- Focus on substantive options for a long-term solution.
- Should not preclude existing legal/international trade dispute resolution processes from continuing.
- Have a realistic but firm timeline.
- Have envoys report their recommendations to their respective governments for consideration.
With your support, I believe this process will lead us to a solution that promotes free trade and is supported by a majority of the affected stakeholder groups.
As the largest North American softwood lumber producer with significant manufacturing and forestry operations on both sides of the border, I offer our services in any way you would deem helpful in initiating this process. For your information, attached is a summary of our position regarding the CVD and Anti-dumping Petition. I am also sending an identical letter to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. Thank you for your consideration of this proposal.
/s/ Steven R. Rogel
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer