Premier Clark underlines importance of softwood lumber agreement

October 8, 2015

By: British Colombia News

In a statement in the Legislature today, Premier Christy Clark underscored the importance of stability in Canada-United States softwood lumber trade to British Columbia.

The 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement between Canada and the U.S. expires on Oct. 12, 2015.

The current agreement ended five years of litigation and returned $4 billion of $5 billion in duties collected by the U.S. to Canadian producers, with over half ($2.4 billion) returned to B.C. companies. In addition, the agreement created the Bi-National Softwood Lumber Council that has grown the market for wood products in the U.S.

Over the past two years B.C. has been working with the federal government seeking an extension or renewal of the softwood lumber agreement. So far the U.S. has not been willing to discuss renewing or extending the agreement.

“B.C.’s forest industry is too important to take for granted. For lumber producers, and the communities throughout the province that depend on them, we need to avoid an unnecessary trade dispute with our most significant market,” said Premier Clark. “When the new federal government is formed later this month, this is the first issue I’ll be raising with the new Prime Minister.”

“Under the Softwood Lumber Agreement, the U.S. cannot launch any trade litigation for one-year after the expiry of the agreement,” said Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson. “We continue to work closely with the B.C. forest industry, other provinces and the federal government to ensure B.C.’s priorities are clearly communicated.”

British Columbia has made great strides in opening up new markets for softwood lumber in Asia, but the U.S. is still British Columbia’s largest market. In late November Thomson will be leading a forestry trade mission to Japan and China to maintain and expand B.C.’s second and third largest markets for softwood lumber products.

By: British Colombia News

Your comments.

  1. george delisle says:

    The government may be working closely with the sawmills but they sure as hell are not working closely with the log suppliers. We did not see a red penny, perhaps now it should be called a red nickel of the $4 billion dollars returned to the sawmill industry, with the bulk ($2.4 billion) going to BC sawmill companies. I do not see any of this money being re-invested in growing better trees, however I do see the big companies investing fairly heavily in buying US sawmills. Perhaps there should be a requirement that any money returned to the companies should have to be invested into growing more and better timber. There also needs to be a division of the windfall money in a equitable split with log providers. The price that the sawmills pays us for logs is based on the assumption of no return of the tariff, so why does the government not insist that a portion be dispersed to the log suppliers????? The government feels that they need to control the export of private land logs and small scale forestry, so they have an obligation to also ensure we receive a fair price for our wood. George Delisle

  2. george delisle says:

    What is a fair disposition of the softwood lumber tariff. Should it only go to the sawmill companies or should it go to the log suppliers?? GD

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