Logging on Vancouver Island: B.C. is still dependent on the U.S. for much of its lumber exports.

U.S. lumber trade faces uncertain future

U.S. industry free to file formal complaints against B.C. wood products as of today, Canadian producers look to China and Japan

Negotiations for a new deal to regulate Canadian lumber exports to the U.S. are continuing as the protection of the latest softwood lumber agreement expires this week.

As of Thursday, the U.S. industry is free to launch new unfair trade actions against Canada, although new tariffs can’t be imposed until six months after a formal complaint is filed. With most U.S. lumber exports coming from B.C., the temporary period of free trade may be the calm before the storm for the B.C. industry.

The Canadian and U.S. governments issued a joint statement Wednesday promising to continue talks towards a “durable and equitable solution for North American softwood lumber producers, downstream industries and consumers.”

That solution may have to wait until after the U.S. election in November, with a campaign marked by anti-trade rhetoric from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Whatever the solution, it will not be free trade in lumber. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Barack Obama agreed in June that a new agreement would be “designed to maintain Canadian exports at or below an agreed-upon U.S. market share to be negotiated.”

The U.S. industry has long maintained that B.C. lumber is subsidized by an artificially low price paid for Crown land timber.

Premier Christy Clark and other provincial leaders wrote to Trudeau in July, asking him to refute “unfair and inaccurate allegations of Canadian lumber subsidies” made by 25 U.S. Senators.

Susan Yurkovich, president of the B.C. Lumber Trade Council, said the industry has been working for months to avoid “another lengthy trade dispute that creates uncertainty, hurts consumers and producers, and impedes the growth of the North American market.”

B.C. Forests Minister Steve Thomson is heading a forest industry trade mission to Japan and China in late November, part of Canada and B.C.’s ongoing effort to diversify lumber trade beyond the U.S. market.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Clearwater Elks taking a hit because of COVID-19

President Marnie Burnell noted the group was already hurting before the pandemic came into effect

Back in Time

Historical Perspective

YCS receives support from Interior Savings’ relief fund

Money will go toward food programs and new technology to improve operations

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Northern B.C. First Nations call for reversal of grizzly bear hunting ban

Growing grizzly populations have led to fewer ungulates and increased fear of attacks says Chad Day

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

‘Made in the Cowichan Valley’ coming to a wine bottle near you

Cowichan Valley has the honour of being the first sub-GI outside of the Okanagan

Most Read