The BC Lumber Trade Council is urging the federal government to engage with the U.S. government to determine a way forward following the expiration of the Canada-U.S. Softwood Lumber Agreement.

The agreement has been in effect since 2006 and expires on October 12, 2015. The agreement includes a standstill provision that precludes the U.S. from bringing trade action against Canadian softwood lumber producers for 12 months after the expiration of the agreement.

“It is important for governments on both sides of the border to take steps to avoid another lengthy and unnecessary trade dispute in softwood.  In the past, these disputes have created uncertainty, hurt consumers and producers, and impeded the growth of the North American market,” said Susan Yurkovich, president of the BC Lumber Trade Council.

The Softwood Lumber Agreement has benefited both countries by providing reliable, affordable, high-quality lumber supply fromCanada to the United States, and maintaining certainty of market access for Canadian producers.

“While we believe that another managed trade agreement is possible, we are also actively preparing to defend BC’s softwood lumber industry against any potential legal challenges brought by the United States, as we have done successfully in the past,” said Yurkovich.

BC is the largest Canadian exporter of softwood lumber to the U.S. The BC forest industry remains a major contributor to the provincial economy, generating $1.4 billion in revenue for the provincial government and supporting 150,000 forestry-dependent jobs.

The BC Lumber Trade Council is the voice on trade matters for companies in British Columbia representing the majority of BC lumber production.