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Canadian Softwood Lumber Imports
U.S. lumber producers are at an unfair competitive disadvantage in the domestic market against Canadian lumber producers because of Canada’s timber pricing policies. This has resulted in five major disputes (so called lumber wars) between the United States and Canada since the 1980s.

The current dispute (Lumber V) started when the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) expired on October 12, 2015. Under that agreement, Canadian softwood lumber shipped to the United States was subject to export charges and quota limitations when the price of U.S. softwood products fell below a certain level. After a yearlong grace period, a coalition of U.S. lumber producers filed trade remedy petitions on November 25, 2016, which claim that Canadian firms dump lumber in the U.S. market and that Canadian provincial forestry policies subsidize Canadian lumber production.

In a preliminary determination on April 24, 2017, the ITA determined that the Canadian industry was subsidized and then imposed preliminary countervailing duties upward of 20 percent on Canadian lumber. Final determinations were due by September 14th, but Department of Commerce Secretary Ross postponed the determinations until mid-November.

Why Does This Matter?

Subsidized lumber imports put U.S. 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.
 
 Immediately following the expiration of the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement, Canadian imports surged from 29.5 percent of total U.S. consumption in Q3:2015 to 33.1 percent in Q4:2015, and it continues to grow, according to the U.S. Lumber Coalition. This gain in market share comes at the direct expense of U.S. private forest owners.

Our Position

FLA agrees that Canadian stumpage is subsidized and directly competes with private forest landowners in the US. We believe in basing timber sales on free market mechanisms, not government allocation. Our government should actively enforce a Softwood Lumber Agreement with Canada that gives economic certainty to US landowners in the ability for US softwood lumber manufacturers to be competitive.

FLA supports the SLA as long as the US government enforces the agreement against any attempt to violate the terms by Canadian federal or provincial governments.

Latest News

October 6, 2017

Recent Actions by Trump Administration on Fair Trade Positive for Forest Landowners
On Sept. 26, the U.S. Commerce Department imposed preliminary anti-subsidy duties on the import of Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier’s CSeries jets. This indication of the Trump Administration’s strong stance on unfair trade subsidies is a promising development for private forest owners.

October 6, 2017
Q&A: Why do Landowners Need a Softwood Lumber Agreement
The Forest Landowners Association (FLA) recently spoke with Robert Crosby, FLA president and fourth-generation landowner, to get his perspective on the Canadian softwood lumber trade issue and its critical importance to private forest landowners in the U.S.

A slate of senators headed to the International Trade Commission this morning to make their voices heard in a long-simmering trade case involving imports of softwood lumber from Canada, which domestic producers argue is hurting U.S. industry and contributing to a loss of American jobs. Sen. Ron Wyden, whose home state of Oregon is a major lumber producer, will urge the panel to issue an affirmative recommendation in the case.
 
September 8, 2017
FLA has been working on Canadian Lumber Imports and the renewal of a Softwood Lumber Agreement with Canada that will offer landowners certainty in their ability to count on strong markets for saw timber. In preparation of the ITC hearing and in response to Secretary Ross’s postponed decision on duties, FLA CEO, Scott Jones met with two key Senators to emphasis the importance of negotiating a clean quota deal and the economic impact that the delay in a final agreement is having on lumber markets.

 

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