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October 27, 2017 7:01 pm

BC Takes Softwood Lumber Talks to Ottawa

Monday, February 6, 2017 @ 10:25 AM

Prince George, B.C.-  Minister of Forests Steve Thomson and  BC Lumber Trade Council President Susan Yurkovich are in to Ottawa  to talk  Softwood Lumber Agreement .“We’ve been meeting with Ministers and key officials on the softwood lumber file” says Minister Thomson.  He says the purpose of the  visit is to “enforce the importance of this file to British Columbia.”

He says  they have been working to move the file forward  as well as  working on the litigation that has been  launched against 4 forest  companies ( West Fraser, Canfor, Tolko and Resolute)  which are the focus  of the U.S.  legal  action launched  against Canada.

“It is critically important  for British Columbia,  critically important for Canada” says Minister Thomson.  He says he and Yurkovich have been meeting with key  Federal Ministers who are involved in this file

Thomson says  B.C. continues to work on  developing diversified markets but  the  legal action launched by the U.S.   and the softwood  file  remain a top priorities  “We are really pleased with the level of discussions we have had  and the level of  engagement  we have had on this file.”

Yurkovich  says “Obviously  it is hugely important for our sector to continue to have access to the (U.S. ) market.”   She says there is an excellent working  relationship with  both the federal and provincial government “We continue to keep the pressure on.”

Yurkovich says the next step in the litigation will  see the four  companies  filling out questionnaires  and a U.S. preliminary   determination on  duties  is expected in April.  There is no indication  at this time on what the  new tariffs might be.

What   has  yet to be determined  is  if  softwood lumber might be part of any  review of NAFTA,  Yurkovich   says there has been no formal  announcement of that trade agreement being reviewed.

Having a  softwood  agreement is “critical  for the U.S. economy” says Thomson who says the United States will need  softwood lumber to  meet the demand  for the U.S. housing market.

Yukovich  says  the   U.S. consumption of  lumber was 47 billion board feet  last year,    but it only produces 32 billion board feet .   She notes that while  if the U.S. wants to build capacity ,  that kind of “dramatic uptick in production”,  can’t happen over night.  “Canada is a very important customer,  we’ve done this  before,  sadly, this isn’t our first rodeo with softwood lumber”  says Yurkovich   who says if there is no supply of lumber,   there will be a spike in  pricing which would push  home ownership  out of the reach of some.  She says they will be  working hard to  get the message  to the American producers  and consumers “It’s a multi pronged  approach to  remind  people why it’s important to get a resolution, it’s in our mutual best interests to resolve  this dispute.”




The total price for all the lumber used to construct an average new home adds up to less than the real estate commission collected on its sale. So lets not try to kid anyone that it’s any spike in the price of lumber that’s going to price any would be new home buyer out of the market.

Problem is Canada is not as important as we think, other countries are only too happy to gain our market share. Their numbers leave 32 percent for foreign lumber, the US lobby wants Canada to only have 20 percent or less. They want prices a little higher as that improves their bottom line.
Our mills are designed to produce dimensional lumber for so cheap they can make money at $200 per thousand

If we are to see a tariff than it should be exempt from smaller operations. It’s the big bank own multinational forest companies that benefit from our forestry policies that monopolize the access to resources and drive the unit costs so low no one else including the Americans can compete and make a profit.

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