SUSAN Yurkovich, President of the BC Lumber Trade Council, said on Monday with respect to the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement [USMCA]: “BC lumber producers congratulate [Foreign] Minister Chrystia Freeland and the Government of Canada on reaching a renewed trade agreement that preserves the dispute resolution mechanism previously contained in Chapter 19 of NAFTA.”
“Chapter 10 of the new agreement maintains, for Canada and the U.S only, a binational panel review mechanism for reviewing anti-dumping and countervailing duty determinations by either country,” added Yurkovich. “Having a robust and fair dispute resolution mechanism is absolutely critical to maintaining a rules-based trading system and providing an avenue for Canada and Canadian companies to appeal unwarranted duties.”
While achieving a renewed trade agreement is a major step forward, the ongoing softwood lumber remains unresolved, said the BC Lumber Trade Council.
“The duties imposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce on Canadian softwood lumber are punitive and unfair, and are driven by the U.S. lumber lobby solely for the purpose of constraining imports of high-quality Canadian lumber to drive up prices for their own benefit. Ultimately these duties punish consumers and workers on both sides of the border,” said Yurkovich. “Finding a durable resolution to the softwood lumber dispute must remain a key priority.”
B.C. is the largest Canadian exporter of softwood lumber to the U.S., making up about half of Canada’s total lumber exports. The B.C. forest industry is a major contributor to the provincial economy and supports approximately 140,000 jobs in the province. The BC Lumber Trade Council represents the majority of B.C. lumber production.