On Wednesday, Ambassador Kirk spent the day in Montana with Senator Max Baucus talking about softwood lumber.
Ambassador Kirk and Senator Baucus in Columbia Falls, property of Daily InterLake
They visited the F.H. Stoltze lumber mill west of Columbia Falls and "both pledged to continue vigorous enforcement of the U.S.-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement."
The 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) is a bilateral trade agreement between the United States and Canada, two of the largest lumber-producing countries in the world. USTR is committed to leveling the playing field for the American worker by enforcing trade agreements, including the Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA). Strong trade enforcement allows American workers to compete with anyone in the world.
Daily Inter Lake newspaper reported on the trip:
"For more than 100 years, the softwood lumber industry has been the lifeblood of Montana," Baucus said. "Today's tour of the lumber mill was designed to help Ambassador Kirk see, smell and hear how important this industry is to Montana's economy. Ambassador Kirk has worked hard to enforce the U.S.-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement in the last year. I hope today's tour will encourage even more vigilant enforcement of the agreement so America's lumber workforce can compete on fair ground."
"...We believe that if you have a level playing field, you'll do just fine," the former mayor of Dallas [Ambassador Kirk] said.
He added that imposing the tariff this year was "only the beginning" of ensuring vigilant enforcement of the softwood agreement.
"I just want you to know we got your back," Kirk told the employees.