OTTAWA, CANADA – U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab will meet with Canada’s Minister for International Trade David Emerson to discuss bilateral trade relations and to sign the U.S.-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement. The signing will take place Tuesday afternoon in Ottawa.
"I am looking forward to meeting with my Canadian colleague to sign the U.S.-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement," said Ambassador Schwab. "With the signing and implementation of this landmark agreement, we hope to bring to close this long standing dispute with our largest trading partner. The Agreement is another achievement for the President’s broad trade agenda."
On Tuesday morning, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative will announce plans for the disbursement of $450 million dedicated under the terms of the Agreement to promote meritorious initiatives in the United States.
On July 1, 2006, USTR Susan Schwab and Canadian Trade Minister David Emerson initialed the text of the Softwood Lumber Agreement. Since July 1, the United States and Canada have engaged in a legal review of the Agreement’s text and a discussion of certain clarifications to the text.
Under the terms of the Agreement, the United States and Canada will end all litigation over trade in softwood lumber and unrestricted trade will occur in favorable market conditions. When the lumber market is soft, Canadian exporting provinces can choose either to collect an export tax that ranges from 5 to 15 percent as prices fall or to collect lower export taxes and limit export volumes. The agreement will also include provisions to address potential Canadian import surges, provide for effective dispute settlement, distribute the antidumping and countervailing (anti-subsidy) duty deposits currently held by the United States, and discipline future trade cases. The Agreement will also establish a bi-national working group to discuss provincial policy reforms.
With respect to the disbursement of duty deposits, the Agreement requires that $450 million be disbursed to promote meritorious initiatives in the United States. Such initiatives include assistance for low income housing and disaster relief, assistance for timber-reliant communities, and assistance in the development of forest management practices to promote sustainable forestry. In addition, $500 million will be disbursed to the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports, the petitioners in the underlying dispute, and $50 million will be disbursed to a bi-national industry council.