Encouraging signs today in negotiations over one of Canada’s thorniest trade issues.
In a joint statement with the United States, the Prime Ministers Office offered an update on talks over the lapsed Softwood Lumber Agreement.
It’s been nearly nine months since that deal, which kept trade peace on the fractious issue, expired.
A sunset clause in the agreement protected Canadian timber producers from US tariffs for a period of one year, but the clocks is quickly running down with a deadline of October 12th.
The statement says the two governments have recommitted to hammering out a new agreement:
“A durable and equitable solution and benefit softwood lumber producers from Canada and the United States, related industries and consumers, and support the overall economic well-being of both countries.”
The PMO says progress has been made in recent negotiations, which will continue at an intensive pace” with an eye to a deal by fall.
The Canada-US softwood lumber dispute has been ongoing since the 1980s, and is based around complaints from American industry that Canadian producers are unfairly subsidized by the “stumpage fees” charged by provincial governments.
A 2006 deal eased tensions, but negotiators were unable to hammer out a renewal deal last fall.