BC Lumber Trade Council Hopeful for New SLA
Prince George, B.C. – While Federal officials from Canada and the United States have agreed to continue Softwood Lumber Agreement talks, the one year standstill period in the wake of the end of the Softwood Lumber Agreement with the U.S. is over.
Susan Yurkovich, President of the BC Lumber Trade Council (BCLTC) is hopeful a new deal can be reached soon “The BC Lumber Trade Council continues to believe that a new agreement, if properly designed, is in the best interests of producers, consumers, home builders and workers in the industry 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.”
Yurkovich says a new deal would avoid “another lengthy trade dispute that creates uncertainty, hurts consumers and producers, and impedes the growth of the North American market.” Having said that, Yurkovich says the BC Lumber Trade Council is prepared to defend the industry against possible trade actions launched by the U.S.”
BC stands the most to lose with the lack of an agreement as this province is the largest Canadian exporter of softwood lumber to the United States. Two major forestry players, Canfor and West Fraser, have positioned themselves well against any such trade dispute, as both have purchased lumber producing companies in the U.S.
The British Columbia Lumber Trade Council has been actively engaged for months working alongside the federal and provincial governments to support efforts to achieve a new softwood lumber agreement that can provide certainty and stability for lumber producers in both Canada and the U.S. To date, a new agreement has not been reached and we are now at the end of the standstill period.
Interfor Forest Products has 13 mills in the USA so they too are positioned well for any lumber dispute.
Hopefully they get a settlement soon.
These US mills being purchased by Canadian companies will be upgraded to produce just as efficiently, or more efficiently, than Canadian mills.
Because of the US housing crash in the past 10 years (more or less) there is a huge surplus of logs available for milling in the South East USA. The American system puts these logs up for auction, and the logs go to the highest bidder.
You can harvest logs in the South East USA after approx. 30/40 years of growth versus approx. 80 years in BC.
So you can see where this is leading. Add in the beetle kill, the reduction in the allowable annual cut, and an American duty on Canadian lumber shipped to the USA, and we have a serious problem.
Any new SLA will be for the benefit of those that rule the roost. That isn’t Canada.
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