Lincoln, Urges President Obama to Enforce Softwood Lumber Agreement

U.S. Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Chairman and Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today sent a letter to President Obama urging him to immediately begin consultations with Canada about its consistent efforts to undermine the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA).  The Senators said the ongoing violations of the agreement are badly damaging U.S. lumber producers, who employ over 400,000 Americans.

“Canadian lumber producers continue to enjoy unfair advantages directly due to provincial programs which provide logs at extremely discounted rates,” Lincoln said. “In order to protect jobs and ensure an even playing field for lumber producers in Arkansas and across the country, we must hold Canada to the requirements set by the Softwood Lumber Agreement. I urge President Obama to take action on these issues immediately.” 

Sen. Chambliss said, “Just last week, U.S. Trade Representative Kirk criticized China for not playing by the rules and discriminating against U.S. companies.  We are only asking the administration to hold Canada to the same standard.  Lumber producers in Georgia and across the country signed onto the SLA expecting both sides to faithfully implement the agreement.  It’s time for the Obama Administration to move forward and stop this type of abuse.”

 Over the last two years, more than 40 percent of the timber harvest from British Columbia’s Interior has been graded “lumber reject.”  Producers in British Columbia have had access to the lowest cost timber, giving them a significant unfair advantage over competitors in the U.S., which is a serious breach of the SLA.