North American softwood lumber production was up 0.6 percent in the third quarter of 2017 over 2016. The increase leveled off after increases of 1.8 percent in the first quarter and 1.7 percent in the second.
Canada production declined 3.4 percent, says the Western Wood Products Association (WWPA), while U.S. sawmills increased production by 4.1 percent.
Canada is in the appeals stage of its softwood lumber dispute after the U.S. Department of Commerce imposed final duties earlier this month.
“The Government of Canada will continue to vigorously defend our industry and its workers against protectionist trade practices,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland said in a statement. "U.S. duties on Canadian softwood lumber are unfair, unwarranted and troubling."
“They are harmful to Canada’s lumber producers, workers, and communities, and they add to the cost of home building, renovations and other projects for American middle-class families,” Freeland said.
But despite duties, with record-high lumber prices and urgent demand from U.S. builders, Canadian lumber firms haven't had to lay off staff or cut production at all.
Canada's softwood lumber exports to the U.S. have declined 8 percent since the duties were imposed, but because the wood itself is worth more, the industry hasn't suffered.