The one-year standstill period for the Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) between Canada and the USA which expired in October 2015 ended on 12 October, without Canada and the USA having been able to agree so far on a follow-up agreement. According to statements made by the negotiating parties to North American media in recent days, there continues to be no prospect of any agreement in the immediate future.

The two leading negotiators, the US trade representative Michael Froman and the Canadian Minister for Trade Chrystia Freeland, state that negotiations are still in progress, but Freeland has described the proposals put forward so far by the USA as inadequate. One central point is evidently the de-termination of an upper limit to the market share for Canadian deliveries in the total US softwood-lumber market.

A comparison of US-import figures issued by the US Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS), Washington D.C., with UNECE’s consumption data for softwood lumber for the USA in 2015 shows that Canada’s share in the USA’s total softwood-lumber consumption was 42%; in 2006, the year in which the SLA which has now expired had been agreed, that figure had been at roughly 47%.