U.S., Canada say differences remain in softwood lumber dispute

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and Canada have made important progress in negotiations over softwood lumber exports but significant differences remain in the long-running dispute, according to a joint U.S.-Canadian statement issued on Wednesday.

Talks will continue at “an intensive pace” with the hope of reaching an agreement this fall, said the statement from U.S. President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

U.S. producers complain that Canadian lumber is subsidized, and they have in the past launched trade challenges that resulted in the United States imposing billions of dollars in tariffs.

The most recent round of arguments ended with a 2006 deal that expired in October 2015. Both sides agreed to take no action for a year after that, but without a new treaty, U.S. firms have made clear they will file new damage claims.

Obama and Trudeau issued the statement after participating in the “Three Amigos” summit on Wednesday in Ottawa along with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

Major Canadian lumber firms include Canfor Corp CFP.TO, West Fraser Timber Co WFT.TO, Interfor Corp IFP.TO and Resolute Forest Products Inc RFP.N.

Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Sandra Maler