Access to market a priority

Getting better access for value-added wood products in Asia and the U.S

Getting better access for value-added wood products in Asia and the U.S. is a big part of a new B.C. government wood industry competition strategy.

The strategy includes seeking exemptions from trade quotas for specialty lumber and wood products in a new softwood lumber agreement with the U.S., which expired last fall. A pilot project is proposed to help smaller value-added producers market in the U.S.

Forests Minister Steve Thomson said discussions between Canada and the U.S. for a new agreement are “intense and ongoing,” but preparations are being made to defend against U.S. trade actions that could begin after a one-year standstill period expires Oct. 12.

“I think it’s fair to say that we are still significantly apart in terms of what we feel needs to be in the agreement as compared to the current U.S. position, but that work continues,” Thomson said. “For us it’s not an agreement at any cost. It’s got to work for BC, and for Canada.”

According to customs data from Seattle-based Wood Resources International, Canada’s wood exports by value were down 18 per cent for the first six months of 2016, with a shift to U.S. sales in the absence of a softwood lumber quota.