British Columbia

Lumber industry, B.C. government to launch softwood lobbying campaign

The B.C. Lumber Trade Council and provincial government say they will try to convince American consumers, politicians and lumber buyers that an equitable softwood lumber deal is required.

New campaign will aim to convince U.S. consumers, politicians and buyers on the merits of an equitable deal

A section of forest is harvested by loggers near Youbou, B.C., Jan. 14, 2015. The protectionist leanings of U.S. President Donald Trump have prompted the province and lumber industry to launch a lobbying campaign in support of softwood exports. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

The B.C. Lumber Trade Council and provincial government say they will launch a lobbying campaign to try to convince American consumers, politicians and lumber buyers that an equitable softwood lumber deal is required.

Susan Yurkovich, the president of the council, and B.C. Forests Minister Steve Thomson say an agreement on softwood lumber is needed to avoid the damage that will result from import restrictions into the U.S. and higher prices.

Yurkovich and Thomson, who met with federal Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland on Monday in Ottawa, say no budget has been set for the lobbying effort.

But if the past is any indication, such a campaign can be expensive.

Mike Apsey, a former deputy minister in B.C. and forestry sector official, wrote in a book in 2006 that the lumber industry spent $40 million on lawyers, lobbyists and consultants in the 1990s to defend its interests, not including public funds.

Yurkovich says the Canadian softwood industry would rather work co-operatively with the U.S. sector to grow the lumber market.

She says the U.S. industry can't currently meet softwood lumber demand on its own, adding that it supplied about 32 billion of the 47 billion board feet of U.S. demand last year.
 

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