The U.S. Lumber Coalition took note of the expiration today of the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement between the United States and Canada and expressed its thanks to the many U.S. government officials who negotiated and implemented this trade agreement.
Charlie Thomas, Chairman of the Coalition and Vice President of Shuqualak Lumber Company in Shuqualak, Mississippi, stated: "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."
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. "Unfortunately," Mr. Thomas explained, "world timber and lumber markets have evolved and the 2006 agreement is now outdated. 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."
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. "If Canada continues to stay away from the negotiating table," Mr. Thomas stated, "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."
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 today's expiration of the agreement. Mr. Thomas added: "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."
About the U.S. Lumber Coalition
The U.S. Lumber Coalition is an alliance of large and small lumber producers from around the country, joined by hundreds of thousands of their employees, and tens of thousands of woodland owners. The Coalition is united in opposition to Canada's unfair lumber-trade practices, including the gross under-pricing of timber on government-owned lands. For more information, please visit the Coalition's website at www.uslumbercoalition.org.