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Canada and the US agree to more softwood lumber talks

Last Updated Oct 12, 2016 at 10:37 am PDT

(iStock Photo)

The two countries say they will continue negotiations despite an agreement set to expire at midnight

Canada and the US say they're hoping to achieve an "equitable" deal

OTTAWA, ON. (NEWS 1130) – The Canadian and US governments say they are going to continue negotiations in a bid to reach a new softwood lumber deal despite the end of a standstill agreement.

The statement came from Canadian Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland and US Trade Representative Michael Froman. The two sides say they’re committed to continuing talks in an effort to achieve a “durable and equitable” deal.

“In our effort to reach a new agreement on softwood lumber, we and our officials have been intensively engaged in government-to-government sessions, in meetings with our respective producers and other stakeholders, and in dialogue with state and provincial governments,” the statement said.

“The United States and Canadian governments are committed to continuing negotiations in an effort to achieve a durable and equitable solution for North American softwood lumber producers, downstream industries and consumers.”

A spokesman for Freeland said the government is aware how vital the softwood lumber sector is across the country.

“Canada is prepared for any situation, and our government will vigorously defend the interests of Canadian workers and producers,” Alex Lawrence said in an email. “The reality is that the US industry is not where we need them to be. At the same time, the protectionist climate in the US does complicate any trade negotiation, including this one.”

The 2006 softwood lumber agreement expired a year ago but a one-year standstill period kicked in to allow both countries to come to some sort of resolution.

The expiry of the standstill period means the US could begin the process of imposing tariffs on Canadian lumber imports.