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

Tariffs against B.C. wood products are prohibitively high in Malaysia

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

School board rejects adding trustees

Support lacking to expand West Kelowna/Kelowna representation

Sustainable growth: Time to stop trashing environment

Regenerative capitalist Hunter Lovins offers economic insights at Kelowna conference

New multi-million baggage system up and running at YLW

Kelowna Airport’s $39 million outbound baggage system can handle 900 bags an hour

New safety doors aim to protect transit drivers

These new full-length doors will be tested in Victoria, Kelowna and Abbotsford

Death and fire not treated as suspicious

RCMP has turned the invesigation of Monday’s fire on Gaggin Road over to the BC Coroners Service

One person sent to hospital after fire near Keremeos

Fire ripped through a shed and Winnebego at Sunkatchers RV Park Co-operative

Osoyoos woman to be inducted into Canadian Curling Hall of Fame

Induction ceremony will take place in Penticton during Scotties Tournament of Hearts

Mudslides close Highway 1 between Hope and Chilliwack

Geotechnicians are on scene and an assessment is underway.

Canadian initiative fuelled by Terry Fox’s dream may be only hope for young cancer patients

Young cancer patients in rural or remote areas did not always get the testing available

Olympic gymnastics ex-doctor pleads guilty to sex charges

Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Gabby Douglas are among the women who have publicly said they were among Nassar’s victims

Snow warning for the Coquihalla

Driving through highway passes will require some extra caution today.

Penticton Indian Band selects five new councillors

PIB aiming for internal reconciliation after by-election

Chiefs ground Rockets in Spokane

Former Rockets’ head coach Dan Lambert leads his Chiefs past Kelowna Wednesday in WHL action

Letter: Deer cull the only practical solution

Kelowna letter writer says deer are thriving because their natural predators are gone

Most Read