As negotiations toward a Canada-US softwood lumber agreement furiously go on, different perspectives and data sets speak to the situation with Canadian softwood lumber exports into USA.
Since the beginning of September there have been hearings in Washington, DC, for various sides — mostly US domestic interests — to table comments and submit on the topic of injury.
Between now and the end of the year, Canada will have a chance to table some of its evidence.
A lot of this conversation is about the quantity of US lumber imports from Canada, and the ratio of that to US domestic production. Madison’s takes a look at the latest data on these important metrics.
US CONIFEROUS SAWN WOOD IMPORTS: JULY 2017
Heard at the Union of BC Municipalities AGM from a British Columbia forestry delegate this week in Vancouver, BC, when updating on the softwood lumber dispute: “What are members of the US lumber coalition complaining about?? Times have never been better…”
According to the latest figures from the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agriculture Service, for January to July 2017 the USA imported US$3,655 billion of softwood lumber from the World, which amounts to a 5.4 per cent increase from the first seven months of the previous year, when it was US$3,457 billion.
The vast majority of this wood came from Canada, with US imports of Canadian softwood lumber up 2.3 per cent to US$3,217 for the first seven months of 2017, from US$3,144 in January to July last year.
Canada Coniferous Sawn Wood Exports: July 2017
Looked at another way, the latest Statistics Canada data — out Thursday — shows that Canada exported C$6,037 million of softwood lumber to the World in January to July 2017, which amounts to a 7 per cent increase over the same time last year when it was C$5,615 million. Exports of Canadian softwood lumber to the USA for the first seven months of this year were up 5 per cent, to C$4,467 million from C$4,237 million for January to July 2016.
US LOG EXPORTS: JULY 2017
Clear evidence that perhaps the problem for US sawmills is US log exports — not Canadian lumber imports as claimed — comes with new data that shows US log exports rose sharply over the summer:
In January to July 2017, US log exports to the World jumped by 10 per cent, to US$791 million, from US$710 million in the first seven months last year.
US log exports to China, by far the largest customer, vaulted by 19 per cent, from US$325 million to US$402 million for January to July 2017.
THE NUMBERS DON’T LIE…IT IS DIFFICULT TO FIND A SURGE OR OTHERWISE INJURY IN THIS VERY NOMINAL GROWTH.
CANADA LOG EXPORTS: July 2017
In Canada log exports, which are tiny compared to Canada lumber exports or US log exports, to the World did increase in the first seven months of 2017, to C$503 million from C$429 million the previous year.
Canadian log exports to China improved by 25 per cent to C$285 million, from C$213 million in January to July 2016.