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Daily News / Lumber / Sawmilling / Global / North America
June 30, 2016

Obama-Trudeau meeting brings no progress to the softwood lumber dispute

Obama-Trudeau meeting brings no progress to the softwood lumber dispute

On the 29th of June, during the meeting between US President Barack Obama and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the two countries set up some efforts in the negotiations regarding the softwood lumber trade.

Yet, in the long-running dispute, there are still great differences, which might be solved by the end of the standstill period ending in October 2016. According to the statement released after the meeting at the "Three Amigos" summit in Ottawa, the “discussions have been challenging but productive”.

As reported by Reuters, the U.S. producers complain that Canadian lumber is subsidized, and they have in the past launched trade challenges that resulted in the United States imposing billions of dollars in tariffs.

Since March, the US and Canada officials have met several times to try and reach a new agreement, as the softwood lumber industry is a vital sector for both the United States and Canada.

As reported in the joint statement, Canada has long been the largest source of imports of softwood lumber to the U.S. market and the United States is by far Canada's most important customer.

Extensive cross-border investment also exists, with U.S. firms operating lumber mills in Canada and Canadian firms making investments in the United States.  Firms in both countries also have worked jointly and in parallel to develop markets for softwood lumber.

A new softwood lumber agreement will need to reflect the realities of Canadian timber management policies and the U.S. domestic market. A new agreement must be equitable and provide a predictable business environment that gives producers on both sides of our border the ability to react confidently to changing market conditions.

Talks about this issue will continue and both industries will remain committed to working toward an agreement until October 12, 2016.

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