Daines Protects Montana Jobs

Levels the playing field for Montana Lumber Mills

U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines today protected Montana jobs by working with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to levy a tariff on Canadian lumber to level the playing field for Montana lumber mills. 

“Today’s announcement is putting America first and protecting the hardworking families who rely on good-paying lumber jobs,” Daines stated. “We are leveling the playing field so that the Canadians have to play by the same set of rules that Montanans do.” 

Earlier this week, Daines pressed Secretary Ross to finalize these tariffs as quickly as possible during a Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee hearing.  Daines’ exchange with Secretary Ross can be found HERE.  

The Commerce Department determined that exporters from Canada have sold softwood lumber the United States at 3.20 percent to 8.89 percent less than fair value.  Commerce also determined that Canada is providing unfair subsidies to its producers of softwood lumber at rates from 3.34 percent to 18.19 percent. 

A timeline of Daines’ efforts to renegotiate a new Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) for Montana’s sawmills is below:  

April 27, 2006: SLA signed – seven year agreement that went into force on October 12, 2006.

January 23, 2012: SLA extended until October 12, 2015.  

September 17, 2015: Daines sent a letter to U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell urging him to provide much needed certainty for Montana sawmills facing the expiration of the SLA. 

October 12, 2015: Expiration of the SLA.  

October 21, 2015: Daines met with Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer to urge him to begin negotiating a new SLA. 

December 3, 2015: Daines wrote newly elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to emphasize Montana priorities and ensure continued economic growth on both sides of the northern border.  

February 22, 2016: In advance of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first state visit to Washington, D.C., Daines urged the USTR to prioritize Montana issues in discussions with Canada.  

June 23, 2016: Daines spoke to United States Trade Representative Ambassador Froman regarding SLA in advance of President Obama and PM Trudeau meeting in Ottawa. 

July 19, 2016: In a letter to U.S. Trade Ambassador Michael Froman, Daines pushed for a new SLA with Canada.  

September 13, 2016: Daines met with Gitane De Silva, Alberta’s new Senior Representative to the United States to discuss the expiring SLA. 

October 13, 2016: Daines issued a statement at midnight at the expiration of the moratorium on trade litigation related to the SLA. 

October 21, 2016: Daines joined 26 Senators in urging President Obama to prioritize ongoing negotiations to obtain a new softwood lumber trade agreement with Canada.

December 6, 2016: Daines urged then President-elect Trump to prioritize the issue of Canada subsidizing its lumber production to the detriment of Montana lumber mills and ensure that Montana producers have access to a level-playing field in the international marketplace.

February 27, 2017: Daines wrote to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross urging him to utilize appropriate trade remedies should Canada continue to unfairly subsidize its softwood lumber. 

March 9, 2017: Daines wrote to Robert Lighthizer, President Trump’s nominee for United States Trade Representative that if they are unable to establish a fair and effective softwood lumber agreement with Canada, Daines urged him to “please support and utilize appropriate trade remedies to the greatest extent possible.” 

April 25, 2017: Daines praised Trump’s action to levy a 20 percent import tax on unfairly subsidized Canadian softwood lumber. 

September 12, 2017: Daines testified in front of the International Trade Commission (ITC) regarding the importance of leveling the playing field for Montana lumber mills and wood products to create more good-paying jobs.