Last year, the Canadian Softwood-Lumber agreement ended, leading many Montana lumber mills to fear a future filled with an influx of cheaper Canadian lumber, University of Montana Forestry Professor Peter Kolb says the subsidized Canadian lumber off of Crown Lands was tough to compete with.

"They will lower the prices of the logs that they are selling in order to allow Canadian mills to be more profitable," said Kolb. "We know that as 'subsidizing' and because of that they can send finished wood products to the United States at a much lower price than American lumber mills can produce them because American lumber mills have to bid on a fair market value."

The lumber markets received a significant change this week though, with an announced fee on Canadian mills selling to the U.S. Professor Kolb praised the Trump administration for the move which came as a surprise to many on Monday.

"Kudos to the Trump administration for saying, 'ok if you will not come to the negotiating table and negotiate with us what is a fair market value for your lumber, we are going to slap a 20 percent tariff on you,'" Kolb said. "Good for him."

The move signals a radical shift in trade negotiations that Trump long promised during his presidential campaign. Many see this as an opening salvo to renegotiating the NAFTA free trade agreement, but it could also bring Canada back to the table to renegotiate the Canadian Softwood-Lumber agreement.


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