By: The Working Forest Staff
FREDERICTON, NB – The New Brunswick government announced measures today to combat what it considers to be unfair trade actions undertaken by the United States government against New Brunswick’s softwood lumber industry.
Among those measures is the hiring of an expert firm to conduct a review of the New Brunswick forestry market.
“The forestry sector in New Brunswick is a very valued industry and employs thousands of New Brunswickers,” said Energy and Resource Development Minister Rick Doucet. “We have consulted with local industry and have developed a set of measures to manage the unfair pressure on the industry while working towards a positive resolution.”
The provincial government will:
- work to improve and develop strategic corridors to improve transportation efficiency for industries, including the forest industry.
- work to enhance innovation in the forestry industry through increased research, expanding opportunities like biomass and biofuels, and by promoting the markets that exist for value-added wood products from New Brunswick, consistent with New Brunswick’s obligations under international trade agreements.
- work to protect the forest sector by increasing its efforts to monitor and combat the threat of spruce budworm through continued partnerships with industry and the federal government.
- work with industry to find new export markets and reduce reliance upon trade with the United States.
- engage an expert firm to conduct a review of the New Brunswick forestry market and, if warranted, make appropriate recommendations to address matters relative to New Brunswick that are currently the subject of the softwood lumber trade dispute.
New Brunswick Lumber Producers stated its support the province’s plan to defend New Brunswick’s exclusion from softwood lumber duties. “The industry welcomes longer-term initiatives to develop new lumber and biofuel markets. We are also fully supportive of having an independent third-party firm to review the current NB Forest Products Market. We appreciate this commitment to a rigorous, fact-based review.”
The third-party review is intended to address concerns raised by the U.S. Department of Commerce, based on an earlier report by New Brunswick’s auditor general.
“These duties against New Brunswick and Canada’s softwood lumber producers are unfair, unwarranted and disappointing,” said Treasury Board president Roger Melanson, who is also minister responsible for trade policy. “In the past four softwood lumber decisions, Canada fought the decision through litigation and was successful. Our government will support the federal government in the pursuit of legal action, and we are confident that we will prevail.”