Canada's unfair lumber subsidies have for decades harmed the U.S. lumber industry, threatening its workers with mounting unemployment, and denying many tree farmers a market for their timber crops. The impact of these subsidies is apparent everywhere. Border measures against subsidized and unfairly traded Canadian lumber imports are essential - otherwise differences between the U.S. (mostly private) and Canadian (mostly public) timber sales systems give Canadian producers an unfair cost advantage. About half of Canadian lumber production is shipped to the U.S. market, accounting for approximately one third of U.S. total consumption. Left unchecked, Canadian trade practices would yield ever increasing market share for Canadian product displacing U.S. producers, workers, and landowners, or even allowing Canadian mills to take over U.S. assets.
In October 2006, the U.S.-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) came into effect and terminated more than 20 different legal disputes surrounding Canada's softwood lumber subsidies and below cost of production sales in the U.S. market. The 2006 Trade Agreement was designed to reduce the unfair competitive advantage created by the subsidies and minimize the harm caused by Canadas unfair trade. Generally, the agreement is viewed as having been beneficial for all parties. But the world timber and lumber markets continued to evolve, and by 2015 the 2006 agreement was outdated. The SLA expired in October 2015.
The Coalition continues to work with the U.S. Government to reach a new agreement that will resolve this issue effectively in the future. The hope is for Canada to work constructively with the U.S. Government to secure a stable and effective agreement that all stakeholders can support. If no agreement is reached, the U.S. industry will eventually have no choice but to assert its rights under U.S. trade laws to offset the unfair advantages provided to Canadian industry.
To learn more about Canada's lumber subsidies, and how to restore fair and free lumber trade between the two countries, see the other pages of this website.