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.

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.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A small crash in the water south of Courtenay Saturday afternoon. Two men had to be rescued, but reports indicate there were no serious injuries. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Small plane crash south of Courtenay Saturday afternoon

Two rescued from plane that had flipped in water; no serious injuries reported

Rogan is a three-year-old border collie who has an 'incredible bond' between him and a family member. Photo by Erin Haluschak
‘Incredible bond’ credited for dog who assisted in emergency

Three-year-old dog Rogan came to the rescue of a family member who fell

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement forecasting windy weather Sunday and Monday. (News Bulletin file photo)
More windy weather on the way for Vancouver Island

Environment Canada issues special weather statement for Victoria, east coast of Island, north Island

A map of Comox Valley schools. Screenshot, Fraser Institute
Comox Valley schools near mid-pack in Fraser Institute rankings

A few schools went up or down a few points, but most came in with similar marks

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

The Blackberry Lane Children’s Centre outgrown its space in the back of the Denman Island Community Hall. Photo supplied
Denman Island to have new preschool with metal roof

Thanks to a local government grant and community support, the Denman Island… Continue reading

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Most Read