U.S. Department of Commerce Rules for Fair Trade; USW, Sierra Club Challenge Subsidies from Illegal Logging
October 18, 2007
On October 18, 2007 the U.S. Department of Commerce vindicated the Sierra Club’s position, ruling that paper products imported from Indonesia are unfairly benefiting from unfair trade subsidies provided by the Indonesian government; the government allows logging companies to pay less than market prices for timber from government-owned forests, allowing the companies to gain an unfair trade advantage. This decision comes after the Sierra Club and the United Steelworkers (USW) intervened in the case in an effort to curb the trade of illegally logged timber and wood products that violate Indonesian law and undercut the U.S. paper industry. For the first time, the Commerce Department has responded to environmental allegations in such a case by investigating whether lax enforcement of environmental laws should be considered as a subsidy that could be met with countervailing duties.
"The U.S. Department of Commerce is finally taking a serious look at the impact that weak and poorly enforced environmental laws have on our economy," said Carl Pope, Executive Director of the Sierra Club. "Illegal logging has devastating environmental and social impacts- accelerating global warming and increasing the risk of deadly landslides, but it is also depressing timber prices worldwide."
See other "Promoting Resilient Habitats" cases.