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October 27, 2017 6:53 pm

Province Optimistic in Reaching Softwood Deal

Thursday, February 16, 2017 @ 10:49 AM

Prince George, B.C.-  Following an hour long  Cabinet meeting with  Canada’s Ambassador to the U.S.  David McNaughton, and B.C.’s Trade Envoy  to the U.S. David Emerson,  Premier Christy Clark is optimistic  a new Softwood Lumber Agreement  can be  reached.Premier Clark says  the previous Administration in the U.S.  wasn’t interested in reaching a deal   as it was focused on the Trans Pacific  Partnership  agreement.  Such is not the case with the Trump Administration.

Premier Clark  says while  the new Administration can be “unpredictable”,  that  sometimes unpredictable can be  good  “These things are never easy, and they always take time, but the change  in the United States could signal that we have a change in attitude about how important getting a Softwood Lumber Agreement  is for both sides.”

Emerson says  a Softwood Deal has never been an issues driven from the President’s office, “It has always been an issue  driven by the U.S.  protectionist lumber coalition.  It has never  ben an issue about the validity of British Columbia’s timber pricing system, or   timber management system.  It has always been about a protectionist group that accumulated tremendous power over the years, particularly in Congress .”  He says since it has been more than a decade since the  former Softwood deal was  reached,   there will need to be a  reassessment of the  entire situation  as the landscape  of the forestry sector and the Administration  in the U.S.  have  changed ” I would not approach it as though we could just re-darn old socks and we’ll be fine.  I think we have to take a fresh look at it.”

Ambassador  McNaughton says its  important to remember  it’s only been  three weeks since the Trump team came into power, and another layer of complexity is that many of  President Trump’s advisors have never been in government before.  “It isn’t a well oiled machine just yet, but I must tell  you we’ve had  nothing but  cooperation from Donald Trump and his team.”

Premier Clark says  Prime Minister Trudeau’s recent visit to Washington  was a great beginning. “They talked about Softwood in their meeting privately” said Clark “I think that  bodes well for Canada, its gets us off on the right foot in terms of getting some agreements.”



So, three Canadians got together to discuss the Softwood lumber situation, and as a result, they think the US is ready to agree to something?


    Well unlike you I do hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel another soft wood lumber war would take its toll and I for one don’t want to see any more jobs lost because the Americans don’t understand the difference between privately owned land to crown owned land.

    Almost 85% of all American timber is on privately owned land and land owners charge different amounts for timber harvesting rights whereas here in Canada almost all wood is on government land and companies pay a set stumpage rate which American producers say they can’t compete with that and say we are unfairly subsidized it’s not our fault Americans chose deregulation over regulated forestry practices so they call foul every chance they get

In 2006, British Columbia had the largest share of lumber exports in Canada at (63%) followed by Quebec (16%), Ontario (8%) and the other provinces (13%). Negotiating the Softwood Lumber Agreement with the US is obviously a Federal government responsibility… so why is the Christy Clark government seemingly taking the lead on this matter?

IMO, it’s because the Christy Clark Liberals are desperate to announce something, anything, positive before the next election less than three months’ from now. Will we reach an agreement with the US in that short time frame? Highly unlikely, but she is not about to wait around for the federal government to try, because they would negotiate this softwood lumber agreement within their own longer time frame.

Desperate time’s calls for desperate measures, and the election clock is ticking, perhaps Christy could arrange for a private meeting with The Donald to expedite a satisfactory conclusion to this softwood lumber agreement?

    Obviously you know nothing of the forest industry as anyone who is a stakeholder is involved yes the Feds handle the negotiations but it’s up to the provinces and major stakeholders to ratify a settlement so everyone is involved.

      Yer right Dearth, Benign Human knows how to read, copy, paste and beat on a drum.LOL

    So… if I understand this correctly, you are against elected officials doing their jobs in an election year? Any other political party would act completely different I take it?

      UmKay, let’s try to explain this again more clearly… the responsibility for negotiating the Softwood Lumber Agreement is on the Federal Government, this Christy Clark Government has NO AUTHORITY to negotiate a Softwood Lumber Agreement with the US. Again lets be clear here; this is an Agreement negotiated between two countries, NOT the province of BC and the USA!!!

    Of course she should be pushing for an agreement. BH you have such a twisted grasp on reality. If she was silent on the SLA you would be all over her as doing nothing for her province. Christy probably would do quite good in a meeting with Trump as he seems to like plain speaking people with a good track record of economic success. The fact that she is “only high school educated” would also probably go over very well with Trump.

      Umm… the Softwood Lumber Agreement expired in October of last year, so where was Christy and her government then? The only reason she is banging on the Softwood Lumber Agreement now is because there is an election coming, and she must be seen as doing something! Call a special meeting of the cabinet, make it look like this agreement is priority number 1, even though Christy and her government did nothing for half a year!

      Come on Christy, sell it, sell it, make it look like you got BC’s back, spin it, spin it! LMAO, the desperation is starting to reach a fevered pitch!

    Are you so blind that you cannot see why an agreement which is fair to Canada, and even favourable to Canada, is most important to BC?

    You give the stats yourself that show why it is important.

    In fact, if you were to add the stat about what proportion of exports lumber constitutes for each of the 3 provinces it would be an even more pressing need for BC. I am not sure why you did not include that.

    The resources belong to the provinces, not Canada. However, because the resources are being sold to a foreign country, the feds are responsible for taking the lead seat at the trade talks “table”.

    As someone has already stated, to which you made a nonsensical response, the provinces are intimately involved with the deal to be made since they must approve it.

    So, rather than sitting back and not making the provincial positions clear to the fed negotiation team as early as possible, any prudent negotiation would take all relevant issues for a successful outcome into account. To do otherwise would be a total waste of time, would make Canada look bad on the international scene since they would show they are not speaking from the same script, and would be completely, and would put the provinces into a position of having to ratify a poor agreement simply to avoid such an embarrassment in the international public’s eye.

    Finally, if that were to happen, it would mean that the federation of provinces is further strained.

    Not good!!!

    If your purpose is to slight the Government of BC and/or its leader, you are going to have to come up with a better reason. This is not it.

I would surprised if the negotiations this time around are any different than the last time.

The Americans will slap on a duty. Probably 25% on Canadian lumber imports into the USA. Canada will then go to the World Trade Organization to try and get the duty lifted. After years of arguing the WTO will rule that Canada is correct and the Americans will refund a large portion of the duties to the Canadian Government who will dole it out to the Provinces.

So during the negotiating period 3 or 4 years more or less the price of lumber in the USA will rise and the US mills will make huge profits, which of course is what the whole exercise is about. In the meantime Canadian mills (especially in BC) will close, and with the reduction in the annual allowable cut, not likely to open again.

    Actually compared to 10 years ago BC will probably weather this trade war quite well yes there will likely be mill closures but no where to the extent it was 10 years ago. Many mills in BC sunk millions of dollars in upgrades to be competitive and there were job losses but that is par for the course in the sawmill industry. Under the Liberal government which did s feral dozen trade trips to Asia we had a closed market opened to us in BC. So unlike our counterparts in Ontario and Quebec BC is well placed to weather lumber war

Dearth states; “Under the Liberal government which did s feral dozen trade trips to Asia we had a closed market opened to us in BC.”

You might want to keep current on BC and Canada’s lumber export market. North American lumber exports (U.S. Northwest and British Columbia) to Asia have declined significantly since record level exports in 2013. From 2009 to 2013, the value of logs and lumber shipped over the Pacific Ocean surged from 1.7 billion dollars to 4.9 billion dollars. Since the record high in 2013, the total export value has fallen quite substantially and was just over 3.3 billion dollars in 2015.

Customs data for the first six months of 2016 show a continued decline by 18% in the exportation value for Canada, while US exports were up three percent year-over-year, as reported in the Special Report in the latest issue of the Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ). The biggest change the past year has been the substantial decline in Canadian shipments of softwood lumber to China because of sawmills in British Columbia directing their sales to the healthy US market. The export value for BC lumber shipped to China in 2016 is on pace to decline by 50% as was exported in 2014.

ht tp://www.woodworkingnetwork.com/wood/pricing-supply/lumber-exports-asia-pace-sharp-declin-2016

    Is this all lumber that’s exported to China and how much of that export is in raw logs!

    There must be a lot of big business owners on this site. They just seem to love our fabulous Premier she is so pretty but what’s beneath that ever smile.

BH once again your statement counter acts itself. Do you not think the trade missions that the Liberals have been pushing for the last 12-15 years led to the record year in 2013? Since 2013 the Asian economy has cooled there fore less demand for lumber and slumping prices. You then quote that US lumber sales have risen because of higher US prices. Using you twisted economic ideas should BC producers continue to sell to Asia at a lower price and not the US that will pay more for the lumber. This is DIPPER economics to the core. No wonder the NDP will never form a government. BH I would like to have a screen name bet with you. If the liberals lose power after this government I will retire from this site never to comment again. If the Liberals retain power you leave this site for good-No other new screen names either!

    Nothing is always 100% perfect! But to dump on the positive by concentrating on only the negative is a favourite method of those who have an agenda. Negativity galore! Is that what the N in NDP stands for? Judging by the endless negative pot stirring it does!

    Imagine a Trillion Dollar Prosperity Fund, imagine 40,000 LNG jobs, imagine a debt free BC, imagine 15, 000 cargo jets per year landing and taking off from our airport, then look at the title of this news article and concentrate really hard on the word “optimistic”. Now let’s all sing along with Christy and her gang; “We got high hopes, we got high hopes, we got high apple pie, in the sky hopes!” It’s the same old song they have been singing for 16 YEARS!!!

    The fact is, things are not so rosy in the land of OZ, and when people start to realize that, change will be the inevitable result. Sorry, but you can dream along with Christy and her gang, or put your big boy pants, and big girl skirt, on and face reality.

    It’s not as if we can just join up and hide in a facebook group where nothing bad or negative is allowed to be said about our city or the province we live in! BC’s child poverty rate is among the highest in Canada, Prince George ranks 3rd in the Country for severe crime rate, food bank line ups have reached historic highs, mines have closed, and so have sawmills, 30,000 jobs in the forest industry have disappeared, etc., etc., etc. If we don’t face up to these as facts, and continue to ignore them, when will they ever be addressed? The first step towards fix our problems is to admit we have them… my role is to show you reality and get you to admit we have some serious problems, after that it would be up to you to bring about change for the better!

      So BH whats your solution, mining claims?

      Move to Bangladesh, then you have something to complain about.

      Way to go BH keep those rich guys tuned up and face reality.
      they don’t seem to realize that its the middle class that keeps our government provided with cash,

Yes the softwood agreement is a federal matter, good thing Christy Clark understands the incompetence of our federal government and has hired the best person she could find for the job. I still believe Quebec softwood is being subsidized .. nothing new here. David is BC best hope of getting an agreement.

Of course they are, there is an election coming up.

Not to worry the clock is ticking and the way that forestry is looked after in this province it is just a matter of time and we will not have any lumber to ship. Don’t look to Christy for any help with the softwood lumber agreement because she will say what ever she has to be elected again and IMO it will be mostly lies.

And here we go again, it is all Christy’s fault, give your head a shake people! Horqn or whatever his name is would do the same thing. Man, I can’t believe some people putting all the blame on her. There are some very informative posts here on the whole picture. Then the other posts surface…… What?

Remember when Colin Kingsley, Sherri Green and others from PG went over with both provincial and federal trade missions to Japan and China that a lot of citizens of this city made comments over mostly negative. Well it’s paid off for BC and especially PG region as many of the mills here send a certain amount of lumber to these countries and it would not of happened without these trade missions.

I believe the NDP both federal and provincial called them nothing more than photo opportunities but you know what when the US was in recession these overseas contracts saved a lot of sawmills from shutting down that speaks volumes in my books.

As to the Feds doing the negotiations all the Feds do is bring to the table what the provinces and major stakeholders want and when the Feds have a deal they bring it back to the provinces and stakeholders who then vote on the deal. So for people like Some of the posters here you might want to actually learn about what you talk about before spouting off because it makes you look the fool which doesn’t endure you to people. Educate yourself before you spout it will save you a ton of grief and save you face because the more you defend your position without facts the bigger the fool you look and the less serious your taken. But then again some of you thrive on being fools

Dearth states; “As to the Feds doing the negotiations all the Feds do is bring to the table what the provinces and major stakeholders want and when the Feds have a deal they bring it back to the provinces and stakeholders who then vote on the deal.”

Sorry, that is not at all what happened in 2006, when the Harper Government announced a Softwood Lumber Agreement had been reached with the USA in Washington! “Ottawa and Washington announced that they had reached an agreement. It was done so quickly that when the press conference was held in Washington, they still didn’t have a final text available. The next day, provincial and industry representatives discovered that the final text signed by Ottawa and Washington was not the same as the text they’d seen the day before. And there were some nasty surprises.”

Does this sound like the provinces signed off on that agreement to you Dearth? Not by a long shot!

ht tp://www.bcbusiness.ca/canadas-softwood-lumber-raw-deal

They may be close to reaching a deal but you know it isn’t going to favour Canada.

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