VANCOUVER - The British Columbia Lumber Trade Council urged Canada's federal government to engage with its U.S. counterparts to determine a way forward following the expiration of the Canada-U.S. Softwood Lumber Agreement, which expires Monday, Oct.12, 2015.
In effect since 2006, the agreement includes a standstill provision that precludes the U.S. from bringing trade action against Canadian softwood lumber producers for 12 months after its expiration. 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 for the provincial government, and supports 150,000 forestry-dependent jobs.
"It is important for governments on both sides of the border to take steps to avoid another lengthy and unnecessary trade dispute in softwood," said Susan Yurkovich, president of the BC Lumber Trade Council. "While we believe that another managed trade agreement is possible, we are also actively preparing to defend BC's softwood lumber industry against any potential legal challenges brought by the United States, as we have done successfully in the past."
In the past the disputes have created uncertainty and impeded the growth of the North American market, Yurkovich says, while the Softwood Lumber Agreement has benefited both countries by providing reliable, affordable, high-quality lumber supply from Canada to the United States, and maintaining certainty of market access for Canadian producers.
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