The Canadian and US officials will met in Ottawa this week to discuss about the terms of a new agreement regarding the softwood lumber trade dispute, as Minister Chrystia Freeland said last week.
As Bloomberg BNA reported, Freeland told parliamentarians that a US negotiations team will arrive to Ottawa as to continue the negotiations on the softwood lumber issues, in response to the accusations brought by British Columbia Member of Parliament Todd Doherty, a member of the opposition Conservative Party, who stated that the liberal government led by Justin Trudeau isn’t able to progress to a new softwood agreement.
US President Barack Obama and Trudeau met back in March and announced that they would offer a potential resolution by June 18, after officials would explore all the options.
The meeting in Ottawa will be held on the 26th of May, as Canadian officials reported. At the moment, there is no information about which US officials would attend the meeting. Freeland won’t be present in Ottawa, as she will be travelling to Japan and South Korea, according to Bloomber BNA.
Martin Moen, director-general of Global Affairs at Canada's North America and Investment Bureau, will lead the Canadian delegation, which will also include Global Affairs officials Aaron Fowler, director of the Softwood Lumber Division, and Michael Owen, senior counsel and deputy director of the Trade Law Bureau, as well as Mark Boyland, chief of industry and trade economics at Natural Resources Canada.
The Softwood Lumber Agreement which expired in October 2015 includes a standstill provision which precludes the U.S. from bringing trade action against Canadian softwood lumber producers for 12 months after the expiration of the agreement. At the moment, the Western Canadian producers think that a new agreement would offer a stable environment for softwood trade, but the Eastern Canadian producers believe that the old SLA hurt the industry and they support free trade.