BCLTC hopeful new softwood lumber deal will bring stability
June 30, 2016 – BC Lumber Trade Council president Susan Yurkovich has responded to yesterday’s joint statement on softwood lumber by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Barack Obama.
By Brandi Cowen
The statement reads:
“British Columbia lumber producers are pleased that the Canadian and U.S. governments have committed to continue intensive discussions with a view to achieving a renewed agreement on softwood lumber by the fall of this year.
“Yesterday’s statement from the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of the United States reiterated the importance of trade in softwood lumber for both countries, and set out the key features that have been the subject of discussions to date.
“Market share has always been a central feature of past trade agreements, including the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA). We are pleased that both governments recognize the need for an agreement that provides flexibility in approaches in achieving that objective. The ability to choose between an export tax model and a hard cap volume restriction, similar to the structure of the 2006 SLA, has been an important principle for the BC industry throughout these discussions.
“We recognize that these discussions are challenging and greatly appreciate the leadership of the Prime Minister, Minister Freeland and Premier Clark on this issue. They have made achieving an agreement on softwood lumber a top priority and we know they will continue these efforts until a new agreement is reached.
“The BC Lumber Trade Council continues to believe that a new agreement, if properly designed, can provide certainty and stability for lumber producers on both sides of the border. Completing a new agreement would also allow us to continue the important work being undertaken with the U.S. industry to jointly grow the market for wood products both domestically and internationally.
“BCLTC will continue to be actively engaged in supporting government’s discussions. However, if a reasonable agreement cannot be reached, we are also prepared to work alongside the Canadian government to defend the industry against any potential trade actions brought by the United States, as we have done successfully in the past.”
BC is the largest Canadian exporter of softwood lumber to the U.S. The BC 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 BC lumber production.