Cabinet ministers in both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are expressing concern that Canada and the United States haven’t started renegotiating the softwood lumber trade agreement, according to Canadian Press Wednesday.
As well, British Columbia Premier Christy Clark has called for Canadian officials to get to the negotiating table, said Globe and Mail October 11.
Softwood Lumber Agreement Negotiation
Rick Doucet, the trade minister in New Brunswick, said that it’s extremely important to the industry in the province that the Canadian and US governments get back to the bargaining table.
Geoff MacLellan, Nova Scotia’s acting natural resources minister, also said he’s disappointed the talks are stalled and said he will work with his Maritime colleagues to protect the region’s unique position in the lumber trade.
Both provinces have seen a steady increase in their lumber exports under the deal, with New Brunswick’s export sales rising 40 per cent over the past four years to $397 million, and Nova Scotia’s exports reaching a value of $85 million last year.
Out west, in 2006, BC exported US$4.3-billion worth of wood south of the border, and that had declined to US$3-billion in 2014.
Overall, Canada’s share of the U.S. lumber market has shrunk to 29 per cent today from 33 per cent in 2006.
As well, the Alberta Forest Products Association said September 17 that Alberta’s $4-billion a year forest products
industry is concerned about the ending of the Canada-United States softwood lumber agreement.
When the trade deal expires, nine years of “relative trade peace … could all be torn asunder,” said Paul Whittaker, AFPA president and CEO.