Wicker joins bipartisan effort to urge fair trade agreement on Canadian lumber

Roger Wicker

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) joined a bipartisan group of senators to urge the Obama administration to push forward on trade talks with Canada on a lumber agreement that would protect Mississippi’s $1.1 billion forestry industry.

In a letter to President Obama, Wicker encouraged the administration to reach a trade agreement that addresses the effects of subsidized Canadian softwood lumber exports to the United States.

The lawmakers who signed the letter stated the importance of not allowing subsidized exports to hurt U.S. jobs and rural communities.

“A fair trade agreement between Canada and the United States is critical to the lumber industry in Mississippi,” Wicker said. “The Administration needs to negotiate a deal that protects American jobs from being undercut by subsidies that help prop up their Canadian competition.”

Forest products produced on Mississippi’s 19.7 million acres of forestland rose $138 million to $1.1 billion in 2015, according to the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine.

The letter, led by Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mike Crapo (R-ID), criticizes the reluctance by Canadian negotiators to adhere to the goals of a joint statement signed by Obama and Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau in June.

“Hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs and thousands of U.S. rural communities depend on fairness in trade in softwood lumber. That is why we will continue to urge you, and any future Administration, to seek a fair, effective, and sustainable agreement with Canada on softwood lumber trade, and in the absence of such an agreement, to fully enforce U.S. trade laws,” the senators wrote.