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

Cumberland mayoral debate announced prematurely; Leslie Baird declines invitation

Eduardo Uranga hoped to hold the debate Wednesday evening

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

VIDEO: Care-A-Van offers more than just care in a van

Mobile clinic brings medical and social services to the Valley’s most vulnerable

Comox Valley Regional District seeking input on development of Tsolum River Agricultural Watershed Plan

This fall, the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) is inviting the community… Continue reading

Lane closure in Courtenay at Lewis Centre

The City of Courtenay will be working on the water distribution system… Continue reading

Naked man jumping into Toronto shark tank a ‘premeditated’ stunt: official

The man swam in a tank at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Trump: Saudi king ‘firmly denies’ any role in Khashoggi mystery

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is travelling to the Middle East to learn more about the fate of the Saudi national

Courtenay’s Dingwall Road to be temporarily closed for construction

Next week, the intersection of Dingwall Road and McQuillan Road will be… Continue reading

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dies at 65

Allen died in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Transport Canada to take new look at rules, research on school bus seatbelts

Canada doesn’t currently require seatbelts on school buses

Sockeye run in Shuswap expected to be close to 2014 numbers

Salute to the Sockeye on Adams River continues until Sunday, Oct. 21 at 4 p.m.

Michelle Mungall’s baby first in B.C. legislature chamber

B.C. energy minister praises support of staff, fellow MLAs

Canucks: Pettersson in concussion protocol, Beagle out with broken forearm

Head coach Travis Green called the hit ‘a dirty play’

5 tips for talking to your kids about cannabis

Health officials recommend sharing a harm reduction-related message.

Most Read