U.S. president-elect Donald Trump speaks to a campaign rally in Las Vegas

Trump election casts shadow on softwood lumber trade

Donald Trump's crusade against NAFTA could embolden the U.S. Lumber Coalition to renew its battle against B.C. lumber exports

One of a series of articles on the future of the B.C. forest industry. You can follow the series on Facebook or Twitter by searching for the hashtag #BCForestFuture.

Negotiators for B.C.’s now-expired softwood lumber deal with the U.S. now know who they’re facing in an effort to find an acceptable quota for Canadian wood exports – anti-trade crusader Donald Trump.

Trump’s campaign speeches focused on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), characterizing it as the worst trade deal the country has ever made and promising to renegotiate it. NAFTA allows a partner to withdraw with six months notice, but it does not cover Canadian lumber exports, more than half of which come from B.C.

B.C.’s government and forest industry continue to market wood products in Asia, with Forests Minister Steve Thomson leading his annual trade mission to Japan and China in late November. Asian lumber purchases peaked in 2014, briefly exceeding U.S. sales before the American housing market recovery continued and Chinese demand began to slow.

RELATED: Premier Christy Clark congratulates Trump on election win

The last Canada-U.S. agreement was signed in 2006 and its protection against trade actions expired in October. It had provisions for an export tax or a quota, and B.C. opted for the tax that kicked in depending on the selling price.

UBC forestry professor Harry Nelson says the U.S. Lumber Coalition is seeking a quota this time, to restrict supply and keep prices higher for American customers. And Canadian or B.C. government efforts to develop the industry, from technology to replanting, could also be targets of U.S. lumber interests.

“Investments in forest stewardship, competitiveness and innovation could all become targets of a future lawsuit by the U.S. Lumber Coalition, which has charged that the Canadian forestry companies have an unfair advantage over U.S. producers,” Nelson wrote in a commentary in The Globe and Mail on Nov. 9.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with U.S. President Barack Obama in June, where they acknowledged there is more cross-border ownership of forest products companies and agreed in principle to a cap on Canadian exports to the U.S. Thomson says discussions are continuing, but there has been no announcement of progress since then.

Just Posted

Developers go back to drawing board after high-rise application deferred by Parksville council

IAG Developments has proposed a multi-building development on city’s waterfront

Parksville man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Nick Major, 21, was a taekwondo instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

City of Parksville warns of utility-payment phone scam

City says phone scammers are impersonating city staff demanding past-due cash

Parksville Qualicum Beach drivers spotted speeding, missing stop signs and talking on cellphones

Intersection of Marks Avenue and Highway 4A in Parksville is big for scofflaws

Rare white ravens spotted again in Coombs

Nature photographer Mike Yip said mysterious birds back in the region

WATCH: Parksville Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell takes first extended steps in nearly three decades

‘It actually felt like walking. It’s been 27 years… but it felt realistic to me’

Dog recovering after being drenched in hot coffee, B.C. man charged

Man was taken into custody, charged, and released pending a court date

Report of dead body in B.C. park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

Undercover operation stings four at Island pawn shops and second hand stores

Accused face charges of attempt to possess stolen property after Campbell River arrests

15-year-old with imitation gun caused ‘dynamic’ scene at Nanaimo mall

No one was harmed in Monday’s incident, say Nanaimo RCMP

Push on to establish Vancouver Island as an arts powerhouse

Island-wide conversation underway on how the arts and culture can amplify economic development

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Vancouver Island mom says she will go to court overseas to try to get daughter back

Tasha Brown says her estranged wife abducted their daughter Kaydance Etchells in 2016

Science expedition to Canada’s largest underwater volcano departs Vancouver Island

Crews prepared for a two-week research mission to the Explorer Seamount

Most Read