The investigation follows the expiration of the nine-year-old SLA on Oct. 12, 2015. The outgoing Obama administration and Congress failed to either extend the existing agreement or enter a new one with Canada before the end of 2016.
Prior to the 2006 SLA, battles between the two countries over softwood lumber raged, involving numerous countervailing and antidumping duty investigations, as well as many challenges in the World Trade Organization
To settle the ongoing battle between U.S. and Canadian lumber interests, the countries in 2006 established the first Softwood Lumber Agreement. Instead of duties being collected by the United States as happened prior to 2006, the five-year agreement imposed an export surcharge and/or surcharge plus quota on imports of softwood lumber manufactured and exported into the United States from a number of Canadian provinces alleged to have been conferred subsidies and selling in the United States at prices lower than in Canada.
U.S. softwood lumber trade investigations have been ongoing since the early 1980s when the U.S. forest industry tightened its supply for conservation and environmental reasons