Editorial: U.S. greed issue

Softwood lumber wars need to end so there is security for working families

These countervailing duties and the ongoing, ridiculous softwood lumber wars waged by our “friends” south of the border are a real pain in the behind.

Here’s what’s happening. For the past couple of decades, the American lumber industry has been crying the blue about Canadians sending our softwood lumber across the border.

The American fibre supply comes mostly from the private sector because they don’t have much in the way of public forests, etc.

The United States of America believes it’s a dog eat dog world out there, and power entitles you to more than you would normally receive.

Americans want every plug nickel they can get their hands on.

In a nutshell, they’re greedy because that’s the way most of them have been raised.

So is it any surprise that purchasing logs from somebody’s land in the U.S. is going to be expensive? This especially true when there was a diminishing supply.

This is why American processors want to buy Canadian fibre – it’s cheaper than the stuff that’s produced in the good ol’ USA.

Obviously, the American timber owners didn’t like that, so they started putting tariffs on Canadian lumber and the stumpage rates harvesting companies were paying the provincial government “didn’t nearly cover the true value of the fibre.”

And the softwood lumber wars were on for the long term. Now, it’s the Americans favourite weapon against us nasty Canadians.

It’s definitely a pain for the our lumber producers, and this is especially true for British Columbia, which sends a lot of lumber to the U.S.

Most recently, the U.S Department of Commerce made recommendations regarding injury to the U.S. lumber industry on Dec. 7, 2017.

Then the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) reviewed its recommendations and agreed Canadian softwood lumber exports was hurting the American lumber injury. That was no surprise to anyone, especially B.C. lumber producers.

The federal government has now taken the issue to the World Trade Organization (WTO), and everyone is waiting for the American’s injury claim to go before the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) panels, where these independent bodies will once again rule the United States is not acting fairly in its trade practices.

However, this time around there is a difference – the American lumber industry is booming.

B.C. Lumber Trade Council president Susan Yurkovich said it best: “The ITC finding of ‘injury,’ despite the current record-setting profitability of the U.S. lumber industry, makes it very clear that this was not an objective evaluation of the facts.”

Clearly, the Americans are being greedy.

Meanwhile, B.C. lumber producers are actively looking for other customers.

Ken Alexander

Quesnel Cariboo Observer