Thank you, gentlemen, for your presentation.
Something struck me in your response to the question as to why softwood lumber was not part of the negotiations in the Canada–U.S.-Mexico Agreement, or CUSMA. I don't know if it came from the interpreters, you'll tell me. You seemed to be saying that we needed to focus on other priorities, and this is not the first time I've heard that. Wasn't there a turn of phrase that sounded like that?
The phrase “focusing on other priorities” is quite telling to me. I get the impression that the various softwood lumber crises we are experiencing are partly due to the fact that Canada has an economy that is fairly integrated with the United States in the auto sector and that it does not want to weaken that sector. This leaves me with the impression that softwood lumber is often the currency of trade.
I don't remember exactly, but I do know that we have been successful in many cases that we have taken to the World Trade Organization, or WTO. I know that in one of the settlements in those disputes, some of the money that was supposed to be paid to us by the United States was never paid out. I believe it is close to $1 billion.
I attended a presentation on this subject by representatives of a company in my region, Resolute Forest Products. This company, which is involved in forestry and the export of lumber, sees this as a form of ransom. It is still paying the surtax, between 15% and 20%, which has been in place since 2017.
Here's what worries me. If we get a settlement for the five ongoing cases you're talking about, we'll still be tempted, in order to maintain good relations with our American neighbours, to accept this ransom system where, ultimately, we don't receive our fair share of the compensation that would be offered to us as a result of a court decision.
I'd like to hear your thoughts on that.