Trade deal doesn’t fix U.S. lumber issue: Harper

Trans-Pacific Partnership won't end softwood lumber tradeoffs, or remove restrictions on log exports from B.C.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement doesn’t resolve Canada’s long-running dispute with the United States over softwood lumber, or remove restrictions on log exports from B.C.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Friday the Canadian government would like to renew the Canada-U.S. softwood agreement, expired as of Thanksgiving Day. It’s a side deal outside the North American Free Trade Agreement, and it won’t be covered by the proposed TPP deal either.

“Obviously we would like to see this agreement move forward, and I think industry on both sides of the border would, but for reasons that were not entirely clear, the American administration hasn’t seen it that way,” Harper said in an interview with Black Press.

“In terms of forestry, what the TPP does do is provide new tariff-free access to many Asian countries, including enhanced access to the Japanese market.”

Restrictions on log exports from B.C. are also not eased by the TPP, which includes Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand and Australia. B.C.’s control over Crown land log prices has long been an irritant with the U.S. and Japan, while private and aboriginal land log producers are restricted by federal rules.

“B.C. was able to ensure that both provincial and federal log export controls will not change as a result of the TPP, despite pressure from Japan to eliminate them,” B.C. International Trade Minister Teresa Wat said in a statement. “B.C.’s objectives for the forestry sector during the TPP negotiations were to gain market access for forestry products to important TPP markets such as Japan, while maintaining existing log export controls.”

Premier Christy Clark said this week her first call to Ottawa after the Oct. 19 federal election will be about continuing the U.S. softwood lumber talks.

The tentative TPP deal was reached after all-night negotiations in Atlanta last weekend, after talks in Hawaii were expected to settle it before Canada’s election campaign.

Harper said he expected NDP leader Thomas Mulcair to oppose the TPP, but finds it “incredible” that Pacific Rim trade would be opposed in the 21st Century.

“The Liberals will support the deal,” Harper predicted. “This is what they always do, they hum and haw, but they sent the signals and they always eventually support it. But they never actually get trade deals done.”

 

 

Just Posted

Surrey social justice activist wins Sher Vancouver’s Youth Leadership Award

Shilpa Narayan says her work is about ‘ensuring a safe space’ for marginalized youth

Book a ride on a driverless shuttle in Surrey or Vancouver

Automated vehicle demos are being offered, as the two cities plan pilot projects with the shuttles

Worker injured in White Rock: WorkSafeBC

Emergency crews respond to construction site at corner of George Street and Thrift Avenue

Surrey firefighters remind public to check smoke alarms after duplex fire

An occupant of the home told firefighters a tipped-over candle may have lit the blaze that ‘heavily damaged’ one side of the home

White Rock Whalers set to host PJHL prospects game

Junior ‘B’ hockey league’s top young players – including many from Surrey – set to take part

Company issues lifetime ban after man jumps from cruise ship

Nick Naydev posted the video last week showing him standing on the balcony of the Symphony of the Seas

High court ruling allows long-term expats to vote in byelections across Canada

Supreme Court decision enfranchised an estimated one million or more Canadian expats to be able to vote

Vancouver Whitecaps acquire Canadian international Derek Cornelius

Cornelius earned his first senior cap for Canada in September 2018

B.C. university students dumpster dive to shed light on food waste

Eating only from dumpsters, the students hope to raise money for food banks in Northern Canada

B.C. woman posts to Facebook after she and nephew reported missing for days

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

Unruly passenger forces B.C.-bound flight to divert to Calgary

Police say charges are pending against a woman in her 40s

Vancouver hit-and-run leaves woman with life-threatening injuries

A woman and her husband were walking in a marked crosswalk at East 41 and Commercial Street

Inflation rises as higher airfares, veggie prices offset cheaper gas

Statistics Canada says inflation accelerated to two per cent in December

Social media strains over Prince Rupert’s boil water notice

Resident forms Community for Clean Water, and Jennifer Rice responds to acting mayor’s comments

Most Read