On October 25, the U.S. Lumber Coalition, which represents American softwood lumber producers, petitioned the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission to restore what it considers to be the conditions of fair trade in softwood lumber between the United States and Canada. In its petition, the coalition alleges that Canadian provincial governments are providing standing trees to Canadian producers for an administered fee that is far below the market value of the timber, as well as a number of other subsidies. In addition, the coalition petition alleges that Canadian softwood lumber is being sold for less than fair value in the U.S.
The U.S. Lumber Coalition said it wants the U.S. government to impose duties on Canadian imports to offset the harm Canadian imports have caused U.S. mills and lumber-reliant communities. According to the Wall Street Journal, a probe by U.S. officials could take up to 75 days. Meanwhile, Canadian softwood producers dispute the claims made by the U.S. Lumber Coalition.
The most recent Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) between the United States (U.S.) and Canada expired on October 12, 2015. There was a one-year cooling off period where neither country was allowed to engage in litigation on the issue. That cooling-off period expired on October 12, 2016. Litigation appears increasing likely as the two sides remain far apart in reaching a new agreement.