Softwood lumber negotiations: Minister’s update
Letter to the Editor
British Columbia appreciates that the federal government continues to make finding a negotiated solution to Canada-U.S. lumber trade a top priority. I am heartened to see that both Prime Minister Trudeau and President Obama have committed to maintain an intensive pace of engagement with a view to exploring approaches to achieve a mutually acceptable agreement by this fall.
The two leaders have also recognized the need for regional provisions and flexibility in any negotiated agreement. We remain hopeful that an equitable agreement will be reached that will provide stability and business certainty for lumber producers on both sides of the border.
A managed trade agreement is preferable to U.S. trade action, which would be disruptive and costly for lumber producers, for Canada and provincial governments, and ultimately harm U.S. consumers.
If a reasonable negotiated settlement cannot be reached, B.C. is confident that, working with the federal government, it will successfully defend its market-based forest policies against any U.S. trade action brought by the U.S. against Canada, as it has done in the past.
The United States is B.C.’s largest market for softwood lumber products and within Canada, over 50% of Canada’s softwood lumber exports to the U.S. originate from B.C.
Forestry is a key economic driver in over 140 B.C. communities. In 2015, B.C.’s forest sector supported over 65,000 direct jobs.
Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister