US, Canada Leaders Look to Resolve Softwood Lumber Issue Soon


When Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with President Obama this week, the lumber industry and its longstanding trade dispute between the U.S. and Canada was an early topic of discussion.

The Softwood Lumber Agreement, what was once called the Grandaddy of all Canadian / U.S. trade disputes, expired on Oct. 12, 2015. At that time, the agreement entered a grace period in which neither country could take action. Ever after the grace period expires in October of this year, it was thought to be likely after the U.S. elections in November before a new deal was reached.

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The agreement may come sooner than that. The Globe and Mail reports that the ongoing U.S.-Canadian trade “irritant” over softwood lumber is expected to be resolved soon, both countries leaders said this week. Both leaders have asked their officials to work on solutions to present back within 100 days, Reuters reports.

Canadian West Foundation’s Naomi Christensen explained in an opinion piece at The Providence what a new or renewed deal would mean to Canadian lumber producers, indicating that it is unlikely that President Obama would pass a renewal of the original 2006 agreement, instead reaching some sort of compromise that would also satisfy U.S. lumber producers.

With news that the two world leaders were in talks and indicated they could reach a compromise to the deal, lumber prices reached an eight month high Bloomberg reports.