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Conservatives issue Call for Action against preliminary US imposition of Softwood Lumber Duties

For immediate release - Friday, January 27, 2023

MP Kyle Seeback - Shadow Minister for International Trade, Speaks out against growing list of trade irritants

(Ottawa) Today, MP Kyle Seeback, Shadow Minister for International Trade, issued a call for action against trade irritants with friendly trading nations that continue to grow under Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government. Once again, preliminary duties on Canadian softwood lumber have been announced by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Year after year this happens, despite Canadian Minister of International Trade Mary Ng having just recently raised this issue on a bilateral call with US Trade Representative Katherine Tai in November of 2022.

The softwood lumber agreement between Canada and the United States expired in 2015. Eight years later, nothing has been done to resolve this trade dispute. It can’t just be a throw-away line in a press release of official readouts from Canadian and US trade officials – we need to see the Liberal Government take real, meaningful action on the file to get some actual results. Canadian jobs hang in the balance and it’s more urgent than ever before to get this right. Ultimately, we need a long-term agreement that will bring some stability to our softwood lumber sector. Right now, it’s time to refocus our efforts bilaterally to achieve something of substance for our workers who depend on us to get the job done here. Canada’s Conservatives have a track record of getting positive results when it comes to trade, specifically the softwood lumber file, as it was the Harper Government who was last able to successfully negotiate a bilateral agreement on the issue with the U.S. in 2006.MP Kyle Seeback, Shadow Minister for International Trade

This is a pattern on trade files under Justin Trudeau. Strong action is needed by the Canadian government. Instead, we see a total lack of urgency. Canadians are seeing it play out on softwood lumber, with crab market exports to Japan, in the slowing down of trade negotiations on the Canada/UK bilateral discussion, and in the uneven playing field that many of our Canadian firms experience in European markets, despite having agreements explicitly in place with these key trading partners. It is incumbent on Minister Ng and the Government to address these irritants - failure to do so puts Canadian jobs at further risk. It was the growing chorus of concerns heard from Canadian firms who export to global markets that led to Canada’s Conservatives calling for a special study at the Standing Committee on International Trade on trade irritants within existing trade agreements. Trade organizations have confirmed to the office of the Shadow Minister for Trade that many of these irritants had been raised with Minister Ng and her office dating back to 2019 and even further back on issues like softwood lumber. The Committee will examine these issues and issue recommendations that are designed to explicitly address these many trade irritants, so Canada’s economy can withstand the continued pressures it faces globally during these difficult times.

Media Contact: Kyle Seeback

Ottawa: (613) 995-7813


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