Portland, OR – In a one-on-one phone call with U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk Thursday, Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley urged the Ambassador to request formal consultations to address Canada’s violation of the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement. By providing government-owned timber to Canadian lumber companies at a rate significantly below market value, British Columbia has engaged in unfair competition and put American workers and the nation’s timber industry in jeopardy.
After the call with Ambassador Kirk, Senator Merkley released the following statement:
“To ensure fair lumber pricing and encourage competition, the United States entered into a formal Softwood Lumber Agreement with Canada in 2006. However, our neighbors to the North have not been holding up their end of the bargain. When I spoke with Trade Representative Kirk today, I stressed the need for fair pricing among timber producers in both countries and requested that he begin formal consultations with Canadian leadership to resolve the dispute. Oregon timber companies are already feeling the effects of artificially low prices, and the industry is being badly damaged by below market prices from Canadian competitors. A swift resolution is needed to protect the jobs of thousands of Oregonians who work in the timber industry.”