Earlier this week, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai testified at a hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies regarding the Biden Administration’s trade priorities for fiscal year 2023. During the hearing, Ambassador Tai stated that the Biden Administration was “open and interested” in negotiating a new softwood lumber agreement with Canada to replace the previous agreement which expired in 2015. Ambassador Tai indicated the Canadian government will have to address U.S. concerns relating to the subsidization of Canadian lumber producers before any agreement can be reached.

The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) released the following statement in response to Ambassador Tai’s testimony:

“NLBMDA is encouraged by the Biden Administration’s willingness to go on the record in support of renewed softwood lumber negotiations with Canada,” said NLBMDA president and CEO Jonathan Paine. “Over the last several months, NLBMDA has had numerous discussions with the White House on the importance of resolving the softwood lumber dispute and we are pleased Ambassador Tai has expressed interest in engaging Canada on this critical issue.”

While the organization approves of Tai’s message, an NLBMDA press release says, they need to see action as well.

“Now, the Biden Administration must back up their words with action by negotiating a fair agreement with Canada that reduces tariffs and brings stability to the pricing and availability of softwood lumber,” Paine continued. “While NLBMDA understands the delicate nature of negotiations on both sides of the border, a new softwood lumber agreement is urgently needed to help address ongoing supply chain disruptions and affordable housing challenges in North America. NLBMDA will continue to prioritize this issue with the Biden Administration.”

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