The 2006 U.S.-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement was extended earlier this week for another two years until October 12, 2015.

After the United States imposed 27 percent duties on Canadian lumber imports back in 2002, Canada protested the duties in the North American Free Trade Agreement, World Trade Organization, and U.S. courts. The Softwood Lumber Agreement was intended to help soothe that stormy relationship by offering a system of enforcement mechanisms and binding arbitration to resolve future disputes between the two nations. The agreement helped the U.S. to claim over $68 million in duties in 2007 and over $59 million in January 2011 for Canadian infractions against the Lumber Agreement. There is currently a tribunal looking into the pricing structure of Canadian lumber harvested from its interior.

Montana's wood products industry competes directly with Canada, and the agreement is expected to help keep subsidies and duties regulated so that Montana lumber and Canadian lumber can be sold at competitive prices in the same markets.