The annals of U.S. trade relations with Canada, our largest trading partner, include a recurring dispute over softwood lumber: the kind of pine boards used mainly in construction and home improvement, as well as for paper. And a new dispute is looming at a very awkward time for the United States.
Canada has vast forested acreage, most of it provincially managed "crown" land rather than private. With a small population relative to that of the United States, and a high degree of urbanization, there is less development pressure to clear land for farming, residential or other commercial use. Each year, provincial forest managers determine how much of the forest to make available for logging, and with what conditions (such as replanting and other environmental remediation).
In contrast, most U.S. forestland available to logging is privately held, and rights to log typically are obtained by auction. And there is less of it. State and federal governments still require replanting and environmental remediation. So, it is more costly to produce softwood in the United States than in Canada.