Forest industry waits for Pacific trade deal

B.C. wood products are shut out of some Asian countries such as Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei by high import tariffs

Wood products producers are encouraged by the Trudeau government’s decision to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the first step to ratifying a sweeping agreement with Japan, Australia and other Asian countries.

International Trade Minister Christia Freeland said this week she will take the next “technical step,” allowing the TPP to be debated in the House of Commons. It’s the first signal the Liberals will continue the work started by the Conservative government, which warned against being left out as the U.S. and Mexico go ahead with the TPP.

“All in all we think this is a pretty good agreement,” said Paul Lansbergen, acting president of the Forest Products Association of Canada, in an interview from Vancouver.

“A lot of our industry is in rural Canada, and I think it’s important for the government to recognize the importance of the well-paying jobs that we provide,” he said. “And when our economy is having some rough times, particularly oil and gas, really the government should be thinking about how our economy is diversified.”

Lansbergen said the deal not only phases out tariffs against Canadian forest products, it has clear provisions to settle disputes, and rules around blocking imports due to concerns about insects or other contaminants.

Some of the TPP partners currently have few forest product imports from Canada because of “prohibitive” tariffs, he said. Vietnam applies tariffs of up to 31 per cent, Malaysia up to 40 per cent and Brunei up to 20 per cent, which would be phased out under TPP.

Japan, a long-time customer for B.C. lumber, has tariffs of up to 10 per cent on forestry and value-added products such as oriented strandboard and engineered wood.

Forest product exports have done well with the low Canadian dollar, with sales to the U.S. returning to historic levels after a collapse of the U.S. housing market in 2008.

Canada’s softwood lumber agreement with the U.S. expired last fall, but bilateral wood products trade is exempt from the TPP as it was left out of NAFTA.

 

Just Posted

UPDATE: Surrey firefighters trying to determine what caused Bridgeview propane blaze

Firefighters fought blaze at Pacific Propane Container Recycling

Expansion White Rock Whalers earn first win

New junior ‘B’ hockey team earns victory over Surrey Knights on weekend

UPDATE: Proposal to replace Surrey Knight & Day with 25-storey highrise gets early nod

Surrey council gave the application first and second reading Monday, and a public hearing is set for Oct. 1

Syrian family can, finally, feel safe

Anglican Church of the Holy Trinity White Rock meets sponsored family for the first time

Cloverdale artist finds activism for autism through painting

Margaux Wosk wants to spread the word on what autistic people have to offer

B.C. tent city ‘devastated’ after flash flood

Maple Ridge mayor says that residents shouldn’t have to return to their flooded tents

Volunteer crew ready to build ramps for B.C. amputee

Jean Moulton will soon have an easier time getting in and out of her home.

VIDEO: B.C. tour offers unique underground glimpse of generating station

About 1,250 people expected at sold-out tour on Sunday

Allegations against Kavanaugh pose test for #MeToo movement

Aside from the Ford-Kavanaugh showdown, this has been a tumultuous season for the #MeToo movement

Parents of B.C. toddler who died in unlicensed daycare sue over negligence

‘Baby Mac’ was only 16 months old when he died in a Vancouver daycare

5 to start your day

A man charged in the death of Belgian tourist, a Syrian family feeling safe in B.C. and more

1st private moon flight passenger to invite creative guests

The Big Falcon Rocket is scheduled to make the trip in 2023, SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced at an event Monday at its headquarters near Los Angeles.

‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Mrs. Maisel’ triumph at Emmys

In a ceremony that started out congratulating TV academy voters for the most historically diverse field of nominees yet, the early awards all went solely to whites.

Korean leaders meet in Pyongyang for potentially tough talks

South Korean President Moon Jae-in began his third summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday.

Most Read