U.S. Lumber Coalition sees Canada's interest in Trans-Pacific Partnership as opportunity to resolve softwood lumber dispute as Canada's Minister of International Trade, U.S. trade representative, discuss SLA 2006

LOS ANGELES , January 23, 2012 () – Canada’s Minister of International Trade Ed Fast will discuss the softwood lumber deal between Canada and the U.S. when he meets U.S. trade representative Ron Kirk in Washington D.C. on Jan. 23.

A spokesman from Fast's office confirmed that the softwood lumber agreement was high on the agenda, iPolitics reported, but would not provide details.

Canada has recently expressed interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The U.S. Lumber Coalition sees Canada's participation in the TPP talks as an opportunity for some issues in the softwood lumber dispute to be settled.

The coalition is an alliance of U.S. softwood lumber producers formed in 1985 to respond to what it describes as the "devastating effects" of Canadian government subsidies on the U.S. industry.

On Friday, the coalition wrote to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to highlight three issues it would like resolved. It identified log export controls and a review by NAFTA of anti-dumping and countervailing duty decisions. It also claimed that governments in Canadian provinces use timber ownership to give domestic producers a competitive advantage.

The coalition's letter quotes a recent statement by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “Too often, national favorites enjoy preferential access to government resources,” she said. “That gives these companies, whether they are wholly owned or partially owned by a government, an unfair advantage … We are working to include a chapter on state-owned enterprises in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

The primary source of this article is iPolitics, Ottawa, Canada, on Jan. 20, 2012.

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