250 News - Your News, Your Views, Now

October 27, 2017 6:06 pm

COFI Wraps Convention – Provides SLA Update

Friday, April 7, 2017 @ 3:02 PM

Prince George,  B.C.- The Council of Forest Industries is   wrapping up its conference  in Vancouver   and  as expected, the Softwood Lumber  Agreement has taken  centre stage.

B.C.’s Special Envoy  on this file,  David Emerson,  says  he doesn’t want to say discussions with the U.S.  are getting any smoother  on this file “Because I have no thermometer on site constantly, but I will say this, the market for  lumber has tightened up  quite dramatically.  Even today as we speak, lumber  prices are up, consumer  and do it yourself centres and builders are very concerned.  Not so much about price,  that is a factor,  but they are concerned about  pure availability of product.”   He says  while prices are very good,   “Returns  to southern  lumber producers  in particular   are unprecedentedly high and  the notion there is some kind of injury done by Canadian   wood is, frankly, it’s farcical.  The numbers are really very  strong for the U.S. industry and  until we actually have  duties in place,  even the Canadian industry is benefitting from   the high prices and the anticipated potential shortages.”

He says   that  supply and demand  could  have an impact  on  attitudes in the  U.S.  “I would be shocked if some of the coalition types, and senatorial types, were as aggressive as I’ve heard them, even a few weeks ago.”

The duties are expected to be  levied  on the 24th of April.

Kirsten Hillman, Assistant Deputy Minister, Trade and Policy Negotiation, Global Affairs Canada,  says  Federal Minister  Chrystia Freeland and Ambassador David MacNaughten  are in regular contact  with  contacts in Washington “They are seeking every opportunity to find a way to  get the discussions going.   I think that  it’s too soon to tell if that will bear fruit but they are raising that issue at every opportunity and where that  might get.”

Emerson  had previously  said  that  he had hoped  talks would  get underway by late summer.   Wilbur Ross  is the U.S. Commerce Secretary, and is one of the people  Canadian  Government officials have been in contact with says Emerson ” While the formal negotiation  is under the mandate of the U.S. Trade Representative,  which we do not yet  have,  the person to whom the  U.S T-R would report, is in the loop.  It would be a stretch to say negotiations have started,   I think it’s really just trying to get  people’s atmospherics cleared up so that   people don’t go into it  from the get go thinking somehow there’s a  big disaster in the U.S. industry.  So people need to understand the lay of the land and I that’s what I think has been going on.”





Comments for this article are closed.