WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. and Canada are still far apart on a new softwood lumber agreement.
After setting a June 10 deadline as a target date for identifying key issues and developing resolutions both sides acknowledge that critical differences remain with some experts questioning whether they can be resolved by October. With no agreement by then U.S. companies can start filing new trade cases against Canadian softwood lumber imports.
The province of British Columbia, adjacent to Washington State, is the largest Canadian exporter of softwood lumber to the U.S. Its forest industry generates $1.4 billion in revenue.
United States Trade Representative Michael Froman and Canada's Minister of International Trade Chrystia Freeland made the following statement regarding the status of negotiations:
"The softwood lumber industry is important for both the U.S. and Canadian economies. It supports thousands of jobs in both countries, downstream benefits in related industries and services, such as a sustainable housing industry, and economic prosperity in many of our communities.
"At the direction of President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau, U.S. and Canadian officials have been meeting intensively on softwood lumber in government-to-government sessions, in meetings with stakeholders, through dialogue with members of our legislatures and state and provincial governments and with respective producers and other stakeholders.
"While significant differences remain between us, this period of intensive engagement has helped define shared goals and explore options for several key components of any new agreement.
"Following this initial 100 days of intensive engagement, the United States and Canada have made significant advances in exploring the key issues and priorities. The United States and Canada are committed to continuing negotiations in an effort to achieve a durable and equitable solution for North American softwood lumber producers, downstream industries and consumers."
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