From ProSales, an update on negotiations between the U.S. and Canada over renewal of the Softwood Lumber Agreement, which could affect lumber pricing going forward into 2017 and beyond.

"Challenging but productive" negotiations between the U.S. and Canada over the Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) haven't produced any agreement yet, the leaders of the two nations said June 29, but they promised "an intensive pace of engagement" will continue up to the current agreement's expiration on Oct. 12.

"The U.S. and Canadian federal governments have made significant advances in understanding our industries’ sensitivities and priorities since March," President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a joint statement. "The United States and Canada are working together to find a path forward that reflects our shared goals and that results in durable and equitable solutions for softwood lumber producers from both countries.

"The United States and Canada have made important progress in our negotiations, but significant differences remain regarding the parameters of the key features," the statement added. "Our governments will explore approaches to ensure effective management of the agreed market share.

Accords of any type have been hard to come by over the decades, as U.S. and Canadian timber mills and their governments dispute claims of unfair trade when Canadian lumber gets marketed in the U.S. American companies claim that Canadian sale of lumber at below-market prices--particularly lumber from trees harvested off of government-owned land--has cost them piles of money and thousands of jobs. Canadian companies dispute those claims but are eager to keep selling to the U.S., as the Canadian lumber industry supports an estimated 370,000 jobs in the country.

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