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Canadian and U.S. officials to continue talks on softwood lumber agreement

October 13, 2016

The Canada-United States Softwood Lumber Agreement expired on October 12, 2015. The Agreement, signed in 2006, put an end to persistent tariff disputes over softwood lumber trade created by repeat complaints and procedures the U.S. lumber industry.

Under the agreement, Canadian softwood lumber exporters were paying an export charge when the price of lumber fells below a set price.

The agreement included a provision to prevent the U.S. from putting any tariffs on Canadian lumber imports for a year after its expiry. This standstill period is now over.

Canada's Minister of International Trade, Chrystia Freeland, and the United States Trade Representative, Michael Froman, issued a statement, on Wednesday, on the status of negotiations toward a new softwood lumber agreement:

"The softwood lumber industry is a vital sector for both the United States and Canada.

"In our effort to reach a new agreement on softwood lumber, we and our officials have been intensively engaged in government-to-government sessions, in meetings with our respective producers and other stakeholders, and in dialogue with state and provincial governments.

"While our engagement has yet to produce a new agreement, our governments will continue negotiations though the standstill period has expired. In those negotiations, we will work to meet the mandate agreed to by President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when they met in Ottawa in June-a new agreement that is designed to maintain Canadian exports at or below an agreed-upon U.S. market share to be negotiated, with the stability, consistency and flexibility necessary to achieve the confidence of both industries. In that regard, Canadian and American officials are continuing to meet in Washington, D.C., this week.

"The United States and Canadian governments 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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