Deal said to be closer in Canada and U.S. lumber dispute

Canada would cap its U.S. market share at 30 percent, in an effort to settle the softwood lumber trade dispute, with the U.S. supplying the remainder. But resolving what happens if it can’t make up the balance may be keeping an agreement from being reached.

The U.S. Lumber Coalition has rejected the quota so far, Bloomberg News is reporting. And Canada’s Ambassador to Washington David McNaughton told Canadian Press that discussions continue on whether other lumber suppliers from Europe or elsewhere would be invited to fulfill that gap. The U.S. wants to settle the agreement as it begins renegotiating NAFTA, on August 16.

On July 25, a bi-partisan group of U.S. Senators from lumber producing states – Senators Michael Bennet (D – CO), Mike Crapo (R – ID), Mike Enzi (R – WY), Johnny Isakson (R – GA), Debbie Stabenow (D – MI), Mark Warner (D – VA), and Ron Wyden (D – OR) of the Senate Finance Committee – urged Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to negotiate a softwood lumber trade deal with Canada that sets a maximum market share quota for Canada

“As representatives serving many lumber producers,” the group wrote, “we understand the importance of ensuring any future agreement addresses unfairly traded softwood lumber from Canada and meets the specific needs of the domestic industry. It is also critical trade policies support our economy and American jobs, including through enforcement of U.S. trade laws. Any long term agreement must stop the harmful effects of subsidized and unfairly traded Canadian lumber on fair competition with the U.S. producers.

“We urge you to negotiate a clean quota agreement, holding Canada to its June 2016 commitment to negotiate a new agreement that is ‘designed to maintain Canadian exports at or below an agreed market share’ and resist provisions that undermine a stable and a clearly enforceable system.”

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