Ron visits Roseburg Forest Products to talk softwood lumber

Ron visited Roseburg Forest Products last week to talk with company officials there about his work to ensure Canadian subsidies to softwood lumber don’t hamstring industry job growth in Oregon and nationwide.

His visit to the company’s Dillard operations follows a July 19 letter he and Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo spearheaded to the U.S. Trade Representative urging strong protections for U.S. jobs and manufacturing in U.S.-Canada softwood lumber negotiations.

All told, 25 senators – from both parties -- signed the letter.

Democrats and Republicans have come together because what is on the line is the ability to have high-skilled, high-wage jobs in natural resources,” Ron said at Roseburg Forest Products, one of 30 softwood lumber mills throughout Oregon.

What this comes down to is trade done right,” he said, noting that about one in five Oregon jobs depends on trade and that those jobs often pay better.  

The United States and Canada have periodically hammered out agreements to address the effects of Canadian subsidies on the U.S. softwood lumber market and avoid trade litigation.  But the most recent agreement lapsed last year, and Oregon communities are once again facing the effects of unfair Canadian subsidies.  

About 32,000 Oregonians work in forestry and wood products, one of the state’s signature industries.

Oregon workers can compete with anybody on the planet as long as there’s a fair and level playing field – and that has not been the case with Canada,” he said. “Canada for years has tilted the scales by relying on massive subsidies to give its industry an unfair edge in the U.S. market.”

Ron said he hopes an agreement can be reached, while adding, “This is something where we’re going to go to the mat to ensure that American workers and businesses finally get a fair shake. We’re not going to accept any old agreement that ratifies business as usual.  If a good agreement can’t be reached, we will insist on the toughest possible enforcement of America’s trade laws.”