Since the lapse of the softwood lumber deal between the U.S. and Canada last October, the two nations have been engaged in discussions to draw up a new deal. While many U.S. dealers argue that Canada receives unfair subsidies, the Consul General of Canada of Seattle, Wash., disagrees.

In an opinion piece for Oregon Live, James Hill defends the softwood lumber trade between the U.S. and Canada:

An irony of the U.S. Lumber Coalition's "blame Canada" approach to the issue of softwood lumber trade and Oregon jobs is that it simply serves as a distraction from the policy debate that Oregon needs on sustainable forest management. I write in response to the op-ed published here ("Fair trade is a jobs issue," Aug. 4).

Let's be clear about Canada's systems of public forest ownership and timber sales – there is nothing unfair about it. Canada has one of the world's largest and best softwood lumber resources, it is largely owned by the Canadian public, and is wisely managed to both protect forest health and provide essential forest products at market prices to all of North America and the world. The best way to achieve this is through a new agreement.

The United States relies on Canadian softwood lumber to meet the demands of the homebuilding industry and many other sectors, and Canada's ability to supply these high-quality products is a tremendous advantage for U.S. consumers and the U.S. economy overall.

Rather than once again re-litigating the same old, tired dispute – where there has never been a finding of countervailable subsidy or adverse impact on the U.S. industry that survived legal challenge – Canada and the U.S. can and should be working cooperatively together to expand markets for North American forest products.

Follow the link below to read the rest of Hill's piece.

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