Softwood Lumber Trade Update

British Columbia’s new NDP Premier John Horgan said Thursday after talks with Trump administration officials he was hopeful a dispute between Canada and the United States over softwood lumber could be resolved before NAFTA talks begin in mid-August, according to Reuters.

Horgan told Reuters he saw no reason why the dispute should be part of the three-way North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) talks between the United States, Canada and Mexico, which begin on August 16.

Horgan made the comments Thursday during a conference call from Washington, DC, said Canadian Press, following two days of meetings with trade of officials from President Donald Trump’s administration and Canada’s ambassador to the US.

Horgan said talks between Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross are ongoing and it appears they are close to reaching a market-share agreement.


The BC premier met with Ross and Robert Lighthizer, the US trade secretary, and one of the top officials in charge of negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement. Horgan also met with Washington state Rep. Congressman Dave Reichert, who sits on the Ways and Means committee overseeing tax-writing policy.

A person familiar with the negotiations said to Reuters that Canada so far has not made sufficient moves towards agreeing to a new quota system that would placate US lumber producers, leaving prospects for a near-term deal in doubt.

As well, according to Canadian Press, Montreal, QC’s, Tembec CEO James Lopez said during a conference call Thursday to discuss its 3Q results, “We understand that some progress is being made and that the differences of the gap between the two countries has narrowed.”