Canadian Softwood Lumber Imports
What Has Happened?
The US lumber industry and their allies maintain that Canadian Provincial and Federal governments subsidize Canadian lumber manufacturers by allocating timber at artificially low prices. Many other subsidies are alleged. The US industry goal is open and competitive markets across Canada.
The current agreement, the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA), terminated more than 20 legal disputes on Canadian subsidies and below cost lumber sales in the US market. The agreement, designed to last seven to nine years includes provisions that:
- Terminated US collection of countervailing and antidumping duties
- Requires Canada to impose taxes and volume restrictions on lumber exports to the US
- Encourages the provinces to move away from subsidized pricing systems and to move toward a open and competitive timber market
Lumber import disputes between the US and Canada date back to the early 1800’s.
For a complete history, visit Fair Lumber Coalition.
Why It’s Important
Subsidized lumber imports put US manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage, depress lumber pricing, and adversely affects timberland values. Low cost timber combined with grants, subsidized loans, and loan guarantees create artificially low production costs for Canadian lumber producers.
FLA agrees that Canadian stumpage is subsidized. We believe in basing timber sales on free market mechanisms, not government allocation. Our government should actively enforce the SLA.
FLA supports the SLA as long as the US government enforces against any attempt to violate the agreement by Canadian federal or provincial governments.
What We’ve Done
FLA is a participant the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports
We are encouraging US Representatives to become active on the House Lumber Trade Caucus. Their mission is to promote common sense trade policy that will allow the free flow of goods and services on a fair and level playing field by enforcing US trade laws and trade agreements such as the SLA.
Constant monitoring of the SLA provisions is critical. The London Court of International Arbitrations settles disputes. A January 2011 decision by the LCIA represented the second consecutive ruling that Canada had violated the SLA.
On January 18, 2011, the US formally requested a third LCIA arbitration regarding a long-standing dispute over miss grading and under-pricing of timber in the Interior region of British Columbia.