SLA Standstill?

A column yesterday at LBMJournal quoted Ben Gann, Vice President of Legislative Affairs and Political Affairs, National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association in Washington, DC. It was reported that, according to Gann, the Softwood Lumber Agreement “is likely to be extended as-is as part of a standstill period”. This suggestion merely adds to uncertainties that are presently shaping lumber markets. So I emailed Ben Gann this morning seeking clarification. In his response, he indicated that perhaps his comments were a bit misunderstood: “It is very likely that the agreement will expire on October 12, 2015 without an extension, ” said Gann. “The electoral politics of both countries are playing a role in the lack of an agreement. Canada’s parliamentary elections are next month and U.S. federal elections are in November 2016. It is unlikely that we will see a new agreement until next fall at the earliest, but probably not even then. In the near term, an expiration of the agreement may not mean much. Both countries are prohibited from taking unilateral action for one year following the expiration of the agreement. Even if it is October 13, 2016, and there is no agreement, I doubt either country will launch a trade action. Both countries appear willing to reach an agreement after a new president takes office in the U.S.”

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