WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Lumber Coalition Comments says the U.S.-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement, which expired October 12, 2015, is due for a rewrite after nine years.
"World timber and lumber markets have evolved and the 2006 agreement is now outdated," says Charlie Thomas, Chairman of the Coalition and VP of Shuqualak Lumber Company in Shuqualak, MS. Thomas says the coalition intends "to continue working with the U.S. Government to reach a new agreement that will resolve this issue effectively in the future."
The British Columbia Lumber Trade Council urged Canada's federal government to engage with its U.S. counterparts following the expiration of the Canada-U.S. Softwood Lumber Agreement
Although a new agreement would provide stability and predictability to industries and consumers on both sides of the border, the Canadian government has so far been unwilling to enter into negotiations on a new trade agreement, according to Thomas. The U.S. Lumber Coalition, an alliance of large and small lumber producers from around the country, says it is united in opposition to what it calls "Canada's unfair lumber-trade practices, including the gross under-pricing of timber on government-owned lands."
"If Canada continues to stay away from the negotiating table," Thomas said, "the U.S. industry will eventually have no choice but to use our rights under U.S. trade laws to offset the unfair advantages provided to Canadian industry.""We sincerely appreciate the hard work that the U.S. Government and many members of Congress have put into making this agreement work as well as possible for U.S. industry over the last nine years," Thomas said, in noting the expiration of the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement between the United States and Canada, which sets terms for trade. A British Columbia-based Canadian group took a different tack last week, reminding parties to the agreement that its terms remain in force for an additional year following its expiration.
The Softwood Lumber Agreement was intended to reduce the competitive imbalances caused by subsidies growing out of Canadian provincial government control of most of the fiber supply used to produce softwood lumber in Canada and to minimize the harmful effects of unfairly subsidized imports in the U.S. lumber market.
"We hope Canada will make use of this next year to work constructively with the U.S. Government to secure a stable and effective agreement that all stakeholders can support," Thoams says. As part of the original 2006 agreement, members of the U.S. Lumber Coalition committed not to file petitions under the U.S. trade laws for one year after its expiration.
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.