Tariffs against B.C. wood products are prohibitively high in Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei.

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

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

Twilight Drive-In announces open season for moviegoers next Friday

Opening weekend will showcase a double feature with Aquaman at 7:15 p.m. and Glass at 9:50 p.m.

Elementary b-ball teams receive surprise game visit from ACSS Totems

Two grade 5 co-ed basketball teams were cheered on by players from the highschool Totems team.

Betty Gilbert b-ball boys defeat HD Stafford 38-28

Betty Gilbert’s grade 6 boys opened basketball season with a win against HD Stafford Tuesday.

Langley teams headed to upcoming basketball provincials

Teams from around B.C. converge on the Langley Events Centre for provincial tournaments.

From a drunk judge to Clifford Olson: George Garrett recounts a life in B.C. news radio

New book from ‘Intrepid Reporter’ George Garrett offers readers a glimpse behind the headlines

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

UPDATE: Man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside B.C. elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

HBC shuttering Home Outfitters across Canada

North America’s oldest retailer is revamping its various stores to improve profitability

BC SPCA investigates Okanagan woman with prior animal abuse convictions

BC SPCA is investigating a property near Vernon

Man wanted for sex trafficking, confinement may be heading to B.C.

Kevin Myrthil, 26, is also accused of assault on a 19-year-old woman at an Edmonton hotel

VIDEO: ‘Heroes’ rescue teen trapped in car in Fraser Valley ditch

Two men sprang into action, holding 17-year-old’s head out of water as they pried open door

Most Read