The trade dispute between Canada and the United States over softwood lumber is once again rearing its head.
The previous nine-year trade deal expired last October, and a one-year holding period is quickly running out with both sides still far apart on a new agreement.
University of Alberta Professor Greg Anderson tells the Alberta Morning News, he’s predicting a continued stalemate between the two sides.
“We’ll end up with some kind of managed agreement not that dissimilar from what just expired,” says Anderson. “And that will hold us for five more years, maybe, and then we’ll start this process all over again.”
Anderson says that’s the way it always goes.
“The players are a little different, the faces are a little different, but the issues never quite get resolved, except in the form of this kind of managed peace that has periodically taken hold for four or five years at a time.”
He says it appears some lumber lobbiests and lawyers have a vested interest in dragging the issue out indefinately.
“You do have some lumber lobbiests and lawyers in the United States that have built some rather large homes on the fees that they earn from this dispute,” Anderson says. “So, you know, dragging it out, dragging it through the WTO, and the NAFTA processes, you know, it looks like something where lawyers are just trying to get rich.”
The key issue is over fair market value for the lumber, as Canada and the U.S. both manage their natural resources differently. (scb)