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Daily News / Lumber / Sawmilling / Global / North America
May 31, 2016

Ottawa negotiations bring no progress on a new Softwood Lumber Agreement

Ottawa negotiations bring no progress on a new Softwood Lumber Agreement

The Canadian softwood lumber negotiators met with the US officials last week in Ottawa. Yet, there is no sign of progress toward solving any of the issues caused by the softwood trade between the two countries.

According to Winnipeg Free Press, the discussions will resume but there is no official information upon the date of a new meeting.

At the moment, Canada and the US softwood lumber trade works under a one-year standstill after the 2006 SLA expired back in October 2015. Thus, the two countries are stressed to reach a deal before October this year.

US President Barack Obama and Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, met back in March and decided to establish a 100-days period of discussions upon the trade issue. The two officials have to come back with a solution on June 29th during the “Three Amigos” summit, where Mexico’s President will be present.

"At some point (maybe late June/July), we believe serious negotiations will simply cease due to the upcoming U.S. elections (in November)," said CIBC forestry analyst Hamir Patel.

He added that he didn’t believe an agreement to be reached by June and that everything will be put on hold until March or April 2017, when the new elected US President will take office. Patel also said that he expects the U.S. industry will push for a trade case to be filed in five months, opening Canadian producers to preliminary duties ranging between 25% and 35%, as reported by Winnipeg Free Press.

At the moment, the US Lumber Coalition tries to reinstate across-the-board quotas, even if the Western Canadian producers rejected it in the first place.

 

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