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Canada Shies Away From Lumber Pact as Obama and Trudeau Meet

  • Trade minister hints government may let tariff freeze expire
  • `Fiendishly complicated' softwood dispute dates back to 1980s
Justin Trudeau, Canada's prime minister, speaks during an interview in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on March 2, 2016.

Justin Trudeau, Canada's prime minister, speaks during an interview in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on March 2, 2016.

Photographer: Ben Nelms/Bloomberg

The Canadian government is signaling it could test the waters of quota-free softwood lumber trade with the U.S., a move expected to reignite a dispute that simmered for decades.

Canada’s trade minister wouldn’t commit to reaching a deal before the U.S. is allowed to again place tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber. The previous softwood agreement, which included quotas and was struck in 2006, expired in October and a one-year tariff freeze expires this year.