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October 27, 2017 7:28 pm

Softwood Lumber Battle Heating Up

Friday, January 6, 2017 @ 1:08 PM

Prince George, B.C.- The U.S.  International Trade Commission has  ruled on the allegations of unfair trade practices  against  Canadian  softwood lumber producers, and says there is “injury” .

The ruling means the  U.S. Department of Commerce will continue its investigation to Canada and Canadian softwood lumber producers.

“These are allegations that, time after time, have been proven to be false before NAFTA and World Trade Organization tribunals” says  B.C.’s Minister of Forests,  Steve Thomson.  He says the province’s  forest policies are “trade compliant” and that the issue  can only  be resolved  with “a fair, negotiated trade agreement with the United States, not more litigation.”

He says the allegations are unfounded, and will hurt  American  consumers, making housing affordability  more difficult.  “It is in the best interest of  both sides to quickly come to terms on a deal and get back to focusing on growing our respective economies rather than wasting time, energy and resources in costly litigation” says Minister Thomson.

Despite calling for  a fair negotiated deal to replace the  expired Softwood Lumber Agreement,  Thomson says  BC is prepared to stand with  Ottawa and fight the allegations “We  are confident  we will win yet again.”


This is going to keep happening until the yanks win. Kinda like Christy and her gang has been doing for years.

I know this is a politically sensitive idea, but I say we should consider allowing raw log exports to the States. This would eliminate the source of their complaint–that the logs are not being sold at market prices and the prices would be higher if Americans could bid on them.

The fact is that we do have some raw log exports. These exports are from Native land mostly on the West Coast of BC. The Americans are not winning the bids on these logs and because the logs from crown land are being sold at higher prices than those from the Native land, it stands to reason that we have nothing to lose.

By allowing raw log exports to the States when they can’t win the existing bids on cheaper logs, it’s fairly certain that they won’t win the bids on the logs from crown land which sell for higher prices because they are closer to BC sawmills… And the logs stay in BC while eliminating the US complaint.

    Yeah, we can sell the raw logs to the many Canfor owned USA based sawmills.

Yeah,and we can close our own mills because we have no fibre.

I think sell raw whole logs to the United States is a terrible idea. On the subject of us calling for a fair negotiated deal to replace the expired Softwood Lumber Agreement, what are the chances of a boisterous, egocentric, win at all cost Donald Trump government taking a conciliatory, fair minded approach? Good luck to us, we are going to need it!

Logs are exported from private land on Vancouver Island, Crown land on the North Coast where there are no sawmills, from reserve lands and other private lands, and from Crown lands generally where there is no market for them in BC.
Logs cost a lot to move, so relaxation of export restrictions would have little or no impact in the Interior, and it might back the Americans off.
Export restrictions are a form of protection for BC mills at the expense of the log owner, which on Crown land is you and me.
I think Window above has a good idea. This is a real hot button issue on the Coast but no big deal in the Central Interior.

    The surviving sawmills in the US Pacific Northwest are already reaching out for logs further stateside by truck and train than the distance between them and the BC Interior.

    There are two big obstacles to unrestricted log export. One is the premium an American log buyer currently enjoys because of favorable currency exchange rates, and the second is that most lumber mills in the USA are now non-Union with pay rates substantially below pay rates here, even with the currency exchange factored in.

    Even the unionised mill workers down there took substantial pay cuts a number of years ago in an effort to save their jobs, while the same cuts were refused by Unions on this side of the border. So if mills here were to compete there’d have to be some serious roll backs in labor costs.

    That won’t play out well amongst those citizen ‘owners’ of our ‘undervalued’ Crown timber. If it were a matter of simply reducing wages, and the cost of living following suit, as it once did in days of yore, it would be one thing. But workers today are heavily indebted, and those debts aren’t going to be rolled back just because their wages have been.

Remember what happened in the early 2000’s. And the spruce budworm is still a problem.

Myself and I’m sure others would be interested to see here exactly what are the unfair trade practice arguments the Americans are presenting.

    I’m sure we’ll see the whole gamut of their complaints before the issue is dealt with, however it finally comes out. My guess is there’ll be a punitive tariff imposed this time, which the US government will keep. I doubt whether the incoming US administration is going to have much sympathy for another agreement like the last one, which US mills continually claim Canadian governments and mills collude to violate. Already some of the BC Coastal lumber producers who have to buy all their logs on the open market want to be recognised as not being (supposedly) ‘subsidised’ as Interior lumber producers harvesting trees on Crown land are alleged to be. So there’s no ‘unity’ in the Canadian bargaining position. Not a good way to enter negotiations, even if the case we present is likely doomed from the start.

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