Canada/U.S. softwood lumber trade dispute continues
"The U.S. International Trade Commission today has announced a finding of ‘injury.’ As a result the U.S. Department of Commerce will continue its investigation into Canada and Canadian softwood lumber producers for what can only be described as unfounded allegations of unfair trade practices.
"These are allegations that, time after time, have been proven to be false before NAFTA and World Trade Organization tribunals. B.C.’s forest policies are trade compliant.
"This issue can be resolved only with a fair, negotiated trade agreement with the United States, not more litigation. Despite numerous discussions during 2016 between Canada and the U.S., attempts to reach an agreement were unsuccessful.
"With forecast for continued increase in U.S. housing starts, the U.S. needs our lumber and penalties only hurt housing affordability for middle-class Americans by raising building costs.
"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.
"That said, British Columbia is prepared to fight, alongside Canada, on behalf of British Columbians and the 140 communities that rely on the forest sector. We are confident we will win yet again."
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 in 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. ■