U.S. lumber trade faces uncertain future

U.S. industry free to file formal complaints against B.C. wood products as of today, Canadian producers look to China and Japan

Logging on Vancouver Island: B.C. is still dependent on the U.S. for much of its lumber exports.

Negotiations for a new deal to regulate Canadian lumber exports to the U.S. are continuing as the protection of the latest softwood lumber agreement expires this week.

As of Thursday, the U.S. industry is free to launch new unfair trade actions against Canada, although new tariffs can’t be imposed until six months after a formal complaint is filed. With most U.S. lumber exports coming from B.C., the temporary period of free trade may be the calm before the storm for the B.C. industry.

The Canadian and U.S. governments issued a joint statement Wednesday promising to continue talks towards a “durable and equitable solution for North American softwood lumber producers, downstream industries and consumers.”

That solution may have to wait until after the U.S. election in November, with a campaign marked by anti-trade rhetoric from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Whatever the solution, it will not be free trade in lumber. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Barack Obama agreed in June that a new agreement would be “designed to maintain Canadian exports at or below an agreed-upon U.S. market share to be negotiated.”

The U.S. industry has long maintained that B.C. lumber is subsidized by an artificially low price paid for Crown land timber.

Premier Christy Clark and other provincial leaders wrote to Trudeau in July, asking him to refute “unfair and inaccurate allegations of Canadian lumber subsidies” made by 25 U.S. Senators.

Susan Yurkovich, president of the B.C. Lumber Trade Council, said the industry has been working for months to avoid “another lengthy trade dispute that creates uncertainty, hurts consumers and producers, and impedes the growth of the North American market.”

B.C. Forests Minister Steve Thomson is heading a forest industry trade mission to Japan and China in late November, part of Canada and B.C.’s ongoing effort to diversify lumber trade beyond the U.S. market.

 

Just Posted

Town of Comox seeks new administrative officer

CAO Richard Kanigan departs municipality; Comox ‘on a new direction for management’

Comox Valley Glacier Kings comeback short against Panthers

Team plays a close one against Oceanside the following night in VIJHL action

Edie Daponte brings the music of Piaf to Courtenay

Celebrated Vancouver Island jazz singer Edie Daponte is bringing her sell-out Piaf… Continue reading

Comox art gallery features multi-generational paint show

Mother and daughter provide the creations for next Pearl Ellis Gallery exhibit

2019 FEDERAL ELECTION: Meet the candidates for the North Island-Powell River riding

In an effort to inform the North Island-Powell River riding constituents, we… Continue reading

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

Island campground on the chopping block as ALC deadline looms

Owners fighting to continue facility’s operation, with a huge outpouring of support

B.C. ends ‘birth alerts’ in child welfare cases

‘Social service workers will no longer share information about expectant parents without consent’

U.S. student, killed in Bamfield bus crash, remembered as ‘kind, intelligent, talented’

John Geerdes, 18, was one of two UVic students killed in the crash on Friday night

Free Tesla 3 offered with purchase of Surrey townhome

Century Group’s offer for Viridian development runs through Oct. 31

B.C. communities urged to improve access for disabled people

One in four B.C. residents has disability, most want to work

Sikh millworker lodges human rights complaint against Interfor, again

Mander Sohal, fired from Delta’s Acorn Mill, alleges discrimination based on religion and disability

UVic students killed in Bamfield bus crash were from Winnipeg, Iowa City

Authorities said the two victims were a man and a woman, both aged 18

Most Read