BC Lumber Trade Council speaks up on U.S. trade challenge
By BC Lumber Trade Council
Nov. 25, 2016 - Susan Yurkovich, president of the BC Lumber Trade Council issued a statement Friday commenting on the trade actions initiated by the U.S. lumber lobby:
“The BC Lumber Trade Council will vigorously defend the industry against these new trade actions.
While we are not surprised by the filing of the petitions today by the U.S. lumber lobby, as they have long advocated for limiting Canadian access to the U.S. lumber market, we are disappointed that once again we are in litigation rather than working cooperatively with the U.S. industry to grow the market for wood products in North America.
The claims levelled by the U.S. lumber lobby are based on unsubstantiated arguments. Similar claims were made in the prior round of trade litigation and were ultimately rejected by independent NAFTA panels which concluded that Canadian lumber was not subsidized and did not cause injury to the U.S. industry. With respect to this new action, we are fully prepared to defend our industry and are confident we will again prevail.
We believe that reaching a new agreement is in the best interests of producers and consumers on both sides of the border and the B.C. industry has been working alongside the federal and provincial governments to support these efforts for months. The Government of Canada has tabled a series of proposals that address the concerns of the U.S. industry and could provide a durable resolution to this dispute. Despite these efforts, a new agreement has not yet been reached.
With the U.S. economy growing, and housing and construction starts on the rise, the U.S. lumber industry alone cannot meet the demand of its domestic consumers. That’s why for years Americans have also been able to rely on quality Canadian lumber products to help meet demand. Unfortunately, this new action by the U.S. lumber lobby will only serve to limit access to Canadian lumber products, driving up prices for U.S. consumers.”
B.C. is the largest Canadian exporter of softwood lumber to the U.S. The B.C. forest industry is a major contributor to the provincial economy, and supports approximately 145,000 direct and indirect jobs in the province. The BC Lumber Trade Council is the voice on trade matters for companies in British Columbia representing the majority of B.C. lumber production.