B.C. and Lumber Trade Council Encouraged by Efforts to Reach New Softwood Lumber Agreement
Prince George, B.C.- There are some encouraging words coming from the Federal Government and the U.S. on the Softwood Lumber Agreement talks.Prime Minister Trudeau and U.S. President Barrack Obama have made it clear they are committed to achieving a new softwood lumber agreement by this fall.
That commitment has B.C’s Minister of Forests, Steve Thomson smiling, but he is also pleased to see that both Prime Minister Trudeau, and U.S. President Barrack Obama recognize the need for “regional provisions and flexibility” in a negotiated agreement “We remain hopeful that an equitable agreement will be reached that will provide stability and business certainty for lumber producers on both sides of the border” says Thomson.
If an agreement cannot be reached by this fall, Thomson says B.C. is confident it can successfully defend its forest policies should the U.S. launch action.
President of the BC Lumber Trade Council, Susan Yurkovich, is also encouraged by the commitment of the two senior governments to reach a deal.
In a prepared statement on the discussions, Yurkovich says “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.”
Her statement says the BC Lumber Trade Council believes that a properly designed agreement 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.”