With the deadline to reach a new softwood lumber deal between the U.S. and Canada less than a month away, Canadian International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland thinks the two nations might not be able to reach an agreement in time, according Steven Chase, a reporter for the Globe and Mail. The deadline to draft a new agreement is Oct. 12. If that deadline passes without a new agreement, the U.S. will be able to "initiate a new trade case against Canada," Chase says.
Freeland has stated that despite goodwill between U.S. and Canadian officials, "the protectionist climate in Washington - which she said is worse than at any time since the Second World War - is making it hard to reach a settlement," Chase writes. The United States feels that Candian lumber producers receive subsidies from their government, which the U.S. sees as an unfair advantage.
As recently as June, U.S. timber interests were demanding Canada agree to limit softwood-lumber shipments such that the Canadian share of U.S. lumber consumption is capped at 25 per cent.
That’s lower than Canada’s 2015 market share of 30 per cent and well below the 33-per-cent level reached before the two countries signed their last managed trade deal in 2006.
Sources say the U.S. demand is still roughly the same today as it was in June.
Ms. Freeland said Ottawa is not willing to capitulate and noted Canada has successfully defended its lumber practices internationally. Previous rounds of U.S. litigation have failed to prove historic American grievances about Canadian softwood practices.
“We are looking for a good deal but we are not looking for any deal.”