The Canada–U.S. softwood lumber dispute arose in 1982 with the United States’ claim that the Canadian lumber industry was unfairly subsidized by federal and provincial governments, as most timber in Canada is owned by the provincial governments. The prices charged to harvest the timber (stumpage fee) are set administratively, rather than through the competitive marketplace, the norm in the United States where softwood lumber lots are privately owned. The United States claimed that the Canadian arrangement constitutes an unfair subsidy, and is thus subject to U.S. trade remedy laws. Since 1982, there have been four major iterations of the dispute: Lumber I, Lumber II, Lumber III, and Lumber IV.
Adam Zimmerman arose as one of the leaders in the Canadian forest industry’s fight against countervailing duties. He was a member of the Canadian Softwood Lumber Committee during the Lumber I dispute. In anticipation of Lumber II, Zimmerman founded the Canadian Forest Industries Council in 1984, which lead the Canadian defence against Lumber II and Lumber III. The Canadian forestry industry was also impacted by the signing of the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement in 1987. The records in this series reflect Adam Zimmerman’s leadership role in these events.