Lumber producers in Alberta are hopeful for SLA renewal to avoid trade war

The new softwood lumber agreement between Canada and the US is expected by the lumber producers in Alberta, as there is hope that this agreement might prevent a trade war.

Even if the SLA expired in October 2015, the two countries have signed a standstill according to which, the US can’t apply any new tariffs on Canada’s lumber exports and can’t launch a trade complaint for a full year after the expiry date, according to Global News Canada.

Neil Miller, president of Alberta Spruce Industries, stated that “the U.S. side is going to shoot for the moon, you know, retroactive duties, huge percentage duties. There’s nothing good that’s going to come out of a situation where a duty is imposed on a produced we produce here. We should be concerned.”

In the present status of the SLA, the companies in Alberta are free of any US tariffs when they export lumber to the United States. Still, if the market prices decline a lot, they would have to pay the taxes according to the province. Now, about $1-billion worth of exports go the US every year and from all Alberta’s production, half of it is used in exports and a quarter of this goes the US, as Global News Canada reported.

“Any kind of tariff, or duty or limitation on our trade flows has a negative impact on our industry, on revenues to the province and jobs to the citizens of this province,” said Paul Whittaker, president and CEO of the Alberta Forest Products Association.

The issue was also brought up at the meeting from Ottawa last week, between the US President Barack Obama and the Trade Minister of Canada, Chrystia Freeland, where talks about a future agreement were held, as to resolve any disputes.



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