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CANADA TO TRIM LUMBER SHIPMENTS

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Canada tentatively agreed Friday to slow its shipments of softwood lumber into the United States, ending U.S. threats to retaliate with an import tariff, U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor said.

The two countries reached an agreement in principle that would stretch over five years, beginning April 1, Kantor told reporters during a news conference Friday.The Canadians agreed to take action on their own side of the border as a concession to U.S. timber industry officials who say the cheaper-priced Canadian wood is undercutting domestic producers, he said.

"It clearly demonstrates the tremendous commitment we share to maintain a strong trading relationship," Kantor said.

British Columbia, Canada's biggest lumber exporter, will impose an export tax and quotas while other provinces will increase the stumpage prices logging companies pay for the government-owned trees, he said.