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Canada Backs Down In Lumber Feud Byline} From Staff And Wire Reports

Canada is showing signs of moving toward concessions in a dispute with the United States over softwood lumber, congressional aides said Monday.

“The Canadians have put forward some new offers,” said an aide to Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont.

“The (U.S.) timber industry people feel they have some promise,” the aide said.

Officials for both governments indicated talks were continuing beyond last Friday’s deadline, which U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor had set for an agreement that would slow the flow of cheaper Canadian lumber into the United States.

Baucus has threatened a 25 percent tariff on imports of softwood lumber from Canada unless the matter is resolved.

An aide to Rep. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said the new offers came late Friday from two individual provinces.

British Columbia offered to implement an export tax on its side of the border to effectively raise the price of the lumber it sells in the United States, said Steve Jenning, Wyden’s expert on lumber trade.

Quebec has offered to raise the “stumpage prices,” or amount of money Canadian mills pay the government for the standing timber, he said.

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