Canada and U.S. are Still ‘quite far apart’ Concerning Softwood Lumber



Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland stated on Monday that Canada and the United States are still “quite far apart” on bargaining a softwood lumber settlement, implying any expectation for a fast settlement may not be possible.

The Foreign Minister gave the direct evaluation before meeting members of the Quebec’s forestry sector, who for about two months have been asked to pay duties for shipping softwood towards the south of the border.

“Our positions are still quite far apart,” she said after addressing the International Economic Forum of the Americas in Montreal. “But I think that talking is always a good thing and that is something that we are doing very actively and energetically.”

Her statement comes following Raymond Chretien, Quebec’s softwood lumber delegate, declared towards the start of the month that he was confident the trade dispute could be settled before NAFTA start in mid-August. He also cautioned however, that the softwood dispute could continue for a very long time if a settlement is not made before the NAFTA meeting.

Freeland said, there are “good grounds for reasonable parties” to find a solution, highlighting the U.S. economy’s dependence on Canadian lumber, since it cannot make enough to meet its own demand.



“We remain of the view that a negotiated settlement would be the best outcome for Canadians and Americans _ very much including, by the way, middle-class Americans who want to buy a house or at summertime maybe they want to build their deck.”

She mentioned the federal government is still convinced about its position that the duties on Canadian producers are chastening and without basis.

Towards the end of April, the U.S. implemented counteracting taxes on Canadian softwood lumber producers spreading from 24 per cent on assertions that they are unjustly subsidized, allegations that Ottawa and the Canadian industry refute.



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