The rhetoric is ratcheting up as more time goes by without a softwood lumber deal between the U.S. and Canada. The latest salvo has the U.S. Lumber Coalition has petitioning the U.S. government to look into imposing duties against Canadian softwood lumber exports.
The lobby group wants the U.S. International Trade Commission to restore what it calls conditions of “fair trade” for softwood lumber. The complaint is, Canadian producers have an unfair advantage because much of Canada’s product comes from crown land. Alberta Softwood Trade Council’s David Anderson said they are disappointed by Friday’s statement, but not surprised.
“The previous deal expired in October of last year and in that deal there was a one year standstill provision, which expired October 12 of this year. Any time after that they were in a position to file this petition.”
Canada’s Premiers, including Rachel Notley, issued a joint statement Friday afternoon urging the two countries to reach a long term deal.
Alberta’s agriculture and forestry minister Oneil Carlier said in a prepared statement nearly 20,000 Albertans in more than 70 communities, generate some $600 million in softwood exports from our province.
“We will stand with our forestry industry and the workers and families it supports,” he wrote. “Our government will continue to work with the federal government and our lumber industry partners to advocate on behalf of the Alberta forestry sector and the workers and communities it supports, to defend our industry from potential trade actions.”
That’s led to worries that the U.S. won’t be as deal friendly as what we’ve seen since the last agreement in 2006. Alberta’s trade minister Deron Bilous is in Asia, and has said in the past that opening that market to lumber trade will be a priority with uncertainty in the U.S. (sj/kb/eb)