Softwood Lumber Smack Talk

In a new development best received with foreboding, 25 US Senators this week sent a signed letter to US Trade Representative Michael Froman alleging “Canadian lumber is subsidized, unfairly traded and has had decades worth of well-documented adverse economic impacts in the US.”

As a result of this communication, Canada’s ambassador to the US, David MacNaughton, on Wednesday pledged to take appropriate steps to protect Canadian interests should the US and Canada fail to reach a new softwood lumber agreement by the end of the litigation standstill in October, and the US then chooses to bring trade cases against the Canadian lumber industry, according to Inside Trade. At the same time, he made clear in discussions with members of Congress that a deal is the best solution for all parties involved, said Inside Trade.

In the first letter, US Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines pushed for a new deal to include volume restrictions.

Canada’s MacNaughton shot back Wednesday in a missive of his own to US Senator Ron Wyden, saying the Americans’ letter contained concerning “mischaracterizations.

“I am disappointed with some of the inaccurate language that is contained in your letter to Ambassador Froman,” wrote MacNaughton in the letter obtained by mainstream media.

He added that despite repeated investigations and litigation over the past 35 years, there have never been findings of a countervailing subsidy or of an adverse impact that has survived legal challenge.