Recent news reports claim that Canada is ready to face the U.S. in litigation over the as yet unresolved softwood lumber exports dispute. According to Reuters, Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland had a discussion with industry representatives in Washington and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman last week, and told reporters that talks between the two countries was becoming more complex due to the “increasingly protectionist trade sentiment” in the U.S.
In 2006 the U.S. and Canada reached a deal that expired in October of last year. Both countries agreed that for a year-long period following last year’s expiration, neither would take action. Now, with no new treaty agreed upon, firms in the U.S. have said damage claims will be filed.
Freeland claims that Canada and the U.S. are still talking in good faith, and said that the country is not looking for “any” deal, but a good deal. She went on to say that if an agreement isn’t reached by next month, negotiations could continue. Freeland said that although they prefer peace, Canada is prepared to fight if that’s what it takes.
In an emailed statement Froman said that negotiators for the U.S. and Canada were continuing to work intensely in efforts to reach a deal meeting the criteria laid out in June by Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister, and President Obama. Froman is scheduled to visit Canada to talk about the domestic lumber industry situation soon, according to Freeland.
With the deadline looming near, it should become clear in the coming weeks as to whether litigation between the U.S. and Canada will be necessary.
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