The powerful softwood lumber lobby in the United States is suggesting it could thwart Canada’s efforts to join a Pacific free trade zone if its neighbor refuses to address long-standing irritants.

Zoltan van Heyningen, executive director of the U.S. Lumber Coalition, said the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement negotiations could provide a chance to “make some progress on this file.”

The agreement talks offer a new chance to address complaints that the lobby group hasn’t had solved to its satisfaction under the U.S.-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement or NAFTA. “It provides an opportunity,” van Heyningen said in an interview during a visit to Vancouver.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, or TPP, is a proposed tariff-free zone that would include more than 500 million consumers from nine countries, including Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore and Chile.

From The Huffington Post Canada: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/04/11/canada-us-lumber-dispute_n_1418932.html