Update on Softwood Lumber File
Colin Barker provides update -photo 250 News
Prince George, B.C.- The United States remains a critically important market for Canadian softwood lumber, but with the end of the Softwood Lumber Agreement, and a new administration that favours “America First” reaching a new agreement is no easy feat.
Always the solution is a negotiated settlement, says Colin Barker, Director of the Softwood Lumber Division with the Government of Canada . Talks have been on going since January of 2016, and the Federal Government continues to work closely with industry, provinces, union and indigenous groups.
But there are trade actions levelled against Canada, and Barker says for the first time, the US Department of Commerce is launching investigations into four specific forest companies.
Canfor, West Fraser, Tolko and Resolute Forest are the targets of the investigation and are being examined for anti-dumping simply because they are the largest producers.
Barker says Canada is ready to resume Softwood Lumber negotiations as soon as the U.S. is ready to do so. He adds that preliminary duties will be coming soon , the duties could be applied retroactively on shipments as early as 90 days prior. Final duties could be coming later this year, or early 2018.
Canada will defend the industry through litigation if necessary , while still pursuing a negotiated settlement.
What is there to negotiate.
Ok, so Trump comes and tells Trudeau, that he is going to put on a 35% tax on our lumber.
On the meantime, our AAC is going to be slashed by 40% in the next few years anyway, because of the number of trees available to cut. So why don’t we rethink the way this province operates. Increase our stumpage. Tie quality paying jobs to every 100m3 of timber cut. Thus soon our lumber will be trading for $700 to $800 when it crosses the border. home builders will be paying a buck a board foot… yes, $5.36 a board foot. The home builders will whine to the US government to take off the tariff tax, and in the meantime, we have revamped our forestry to tie it into higher stumpage and secured high paying employment for every meter cut.
Short term pain, long term gain. They need our lumber.
If this is the route they go, buy WFT, and Canfor shares…. they own a lot of mills in the states.
You may get “quality paying jobs” trying to do that, He Spoke, but there’ll be a lot LESS of them even faster than there’s going to already be.
The day of the ‘job’ as the main focus of everything economic is about to run its course.
Already the world’s big ‘think tanks’ are realising more jobs have been lost to automation and technological advancement than have been lost to outsourcing to lower waged countries. And that’s only the beginning.
Time to base the distribution of incomes on something else besides a ‘job’. There’s simply no future in trying to do anything inefficiently when the means to do it better efficiently are at hand and increasing at an ever faster pace.
This is based on the assumption they need our lumber.
Other countries are just waiting to grab our market share, once lost it is hard to recover. US lobby wants us to remain at 20(?) percent market share – so why don’t we? Everyone is happy, give out market share like quota to the companies involved, problem solved. They “need” the volume but as always, not only from us – other countries are only too happy to step in and fill the void.
$5.36 for a 2 x4 stud
The Softwood Lumber disputes seem to take about 5 years to resolve, and there is no reason to believe that this one will be any different.
The BC lumber companies who bought mills in the USA and are in the process of upgrading them, did not make these huge investments for no reason. There is sufficient lumber available in the US to supply their housing market for the next few years at least, and during this time all the US mills will be making huge profits.
BC Mills and employee’s on the other hand will, because of the lack of an agreement, and the reduction in the annual allowable cut take a beating. Mills will shut down and will not reopen anytime soon, if ever.
Many mills in BC have already shut down in the past 20 years, (Mostly since the Liberals have been in power) and Canadian investment in US mills has been ongoing for the past 10 years. The big three companies in BC now own approx 42 Mills in the USA. Anyone who thinks this is not significant, is refusing to wake up and smell the roses.
I am sure they can sell their wood to China or elsewhere…
let the Americans ( I don’t have any trouble with the people but their government is who I am referring to) live in caves if they don’t want our wood, stop the electricity and LNG too, the caves will be dark and cold…things will change pretty quickly I would think.
I know it isn’t going to happen because those like Mr barker would not be able cry and complain then.
But they could probably sell all the wood they can create to the Chinese, problem solved there.
I have been in the forest industry for 27 years in the field to a very brief stint in the sawmills to the pulp industry. I have been through the lumber trade wars for that period of time too. I have seen the industry change not because they wanted to but were forced to in order to survive. Many sawmills closed because of modernization not government interference as many people want to believe.
25 years ago it was a common sight to see logging trucks with sweeper loads sticking sometimes 30 feet out behind the trailer it is now virtually non existent to see sweeper loads as mills are designed to take certain load sizes and due to modernization of logging operations logs are now cut to size out on the landings then shipped to the mills. With modernization comes downsizing it is part and parcel for the course its not pretty nor does it make people happy but its a side effect.
When I started working in PG 20 years ago there were 14 sawmills and a plywood plant in and around PG. When Canfor became the biggest employer after buying out Northwood and some smaller mills business decisions were made to close 5 sawmills which caused a lot of concern as this is the regions bread and butter industry.
In other regions of the province mills shut down because companies chose not to modernize or could not compete with companies like Canfor, West Fraser and Tolko. Yes the forest industry took a pounding but it has come out pretty strong in BC and unlike many other regions in Canada have aggressively marketed outside of traditional markets and has paid off pretty good for BC sawmill industry. China, japan, Philippines and Indonesia are small markets but are growing and now currently account for roughly 27% of BC lumber exports most of which comes from northern Sawmills.The US is a major buyer still but it is no longer BCs sole lifeline in the end I think BC will still lose some mills but we will weather this storm better than most other regions of Canada.
Be thankful for that.
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