Canada and US still ‘very far apart’ on softwood lumber: Freeland

Levies on Canadian softwood sent to the US currently range from three to 24%.

MONTREAL — Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says Canada and the US remain “very far apart” on negotiating a softwood lumber settlement.

Freeland offered the blunt assessment after addressing the International Economic Forum of the Americas in Montreal today.

Her comments, which come nearly two months after duties were first imposed on Canadian lumber producers exporting softwood into the US, suggest that any hopes of a swift resolution may be out of reach.

Still, Freeland says there are “good grounds for reasonable parties” to reach an agreement, pointing out the US economy’s dependence on Canadian lumber because it can’t produce enough on its own.

She says the federal government remains confident in its position that the duties on Canadian producers are punitive and without foundation.

In late April, the US set levies on Canadian softwood lumber producers ranging from three to 24% on allegations that they are unfairly subsidized, accusations that Ottawa and the Canadian industry rejects.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2016

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