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Softwood Lumber: Technical Documentation



The data in this release are compiled from the U.S. import merchandise trade statistics. To maintain confidentiality, the Census Bureau applies statistical procedures to protect the identity of any business or individual. The data in this release contain nonsampling error but do not contain sampling error. Data users who create their own estimates using data from these tables should cite the Census Bureau as the source of the original data only. For the full technical documentation, including definitions of terms, see below.

Technical Documentation Statements

Nonsampling Error

The data in this release are a complete enumeration of documentation collected by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and are not subject to sampling error. Quality assurance procedures are performed at every stage of collection, processing and tabulation of the information. The data are still subject to nonsampling errors, which include reporting errors, undocumented shipments, timeliness, data capture errors, and errors in low value estimation. For more information on these types of errors please see the Information on Goods and Services section of the FT900 - U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services, page 26.

The Census Bureau recommends that data users incorporate this information into their analyses, as nonsampling error could impact the conclusions drawn from the results.

Data Quality

The data in this release are limited to Canadian softwood lumber shipments subject to the bilateral Softwood Lumber Agreement (2006 SLA) signed by the governments of the United States and Canada. These data are a summary of softwood lumber shipments where the filer has provided a valid export permit number issued by the government of Canada. Shipments containing invalid permit numbers or inconsistencies between the permit number, the region of origin, or the Harmonized Tariff Commodity Code are not included in this release. The data in this release are not revised. Additionally, certain softwood lumber commodities subject to the SLA 2006 currently do not have quantity filing requirements, and will be excluded from this release until such requirements can be established. As a result, the softwood lumber import data may be understated.

For softwood lumber imports originating in British Columbia, filers are expected to specify whether the shipment originated in Coastal British Columbia or Interior British Columbia, as these shipments will be tallied separately. Additionally, some filers may identify shipments as originating in British Columbia without specifying the region. These shipments will be included in this release under a third designation – British Columbia Unspecified. Over time and with proper filer adherence to reporting procedures, this designation may become obsolete.


The Census Bureau has modified or suppressed some data in this release to protect confidentiality. Title 13 United States Code, Section 9, prohibits the Census Bureau from publishing results in which an individual's or business' data can be identified. For more information on how the Census Bureau protects the confidentiality of data, see the disclosure limitation topics listed below as appropriate.

Disclosure Limitation

Disclosure limitation is the process for protecting the confidentiality of data. A disclosure of data occurs when published statistical information identifies either an individual or business that has provided information under a pledge of confidentiality. The techniques used by the Census Bureau to protect confidentiality in tabulations vary, depending on the type of data.

Definition of Terms

  • Quantity:

    • The total reported quantity of softwood lumber shipments in each region as measured in board feet. Board feet means the lumber volume equal to a one-inch board that is 12 inches in width and one foot in length. Quantities are originally reported in cubic meters and converted to board feet for this release.

  • Value:

    • The data are based on the total reported CBP value of softwood lumber shipments in each region. The CBP value is defined as the price actually paid or payable for merchandise when sold for exportation to the United States, excluding U.S. import duties, freight, insurance and other charges incurred in bringing the merchandise to the U.S.

  • Excluded Companies:

    • Companies excluded from the Export Measures as specified by Annex X of the 2006 SLA.

  • Maritimes:

    • Includes shipments originating in any of the Canadian Maritime Provinces, i.e. Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island. These shipments are not subjected to the Export Measures of the 2006 SLA and are published under a single designation.

  • British Columbia Coast:

    • Shipments identified as originating from the Coastal Forest Regions of British Columbia.

  • British Columbia Interior:

    • Shipments identified as originating from the Northern Interior Forest Region and the Southern Interior Forest Region of British Columbia.

  • British Columbia Unspecified:

    • Shipments originating from British Columbia for which the region is not properly identified.

  • Unspecified Region:

    • Shipments of softwood lumber products that have entered the United States and are subject to the 2006 SLA but do not have the required export permit number from Canada.

  • Country:

    • Country of Origin - The country where the merchandise was grown, mined, or manufactured, in accordance with CBP Regulations. For this release, the country of origin will always be Canada.

  • Month:

    • The statistical month of importation, which is the month that the goods are released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This month can be different from the month found in the date of shipment as defined in the 2006 SLA.



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Source: FTDWebMaster, Foreign Trade Division, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, D.C. 20233
Created: 21 November 2005
Last modified: 11 March 2015 at 05:20:50 PM