Forest Products Industry Encouraged by Budget: "Responds to Today's Challenges While Looking to the Future," says FPAC President



    OTTAWA, Jan. 27 /CNW Telbec/ - The Forest Products Association of Canada
today welcomed the measures proposed in the federal Budget that it says will
enhance the business conditions needed by the sector to maintain its status as
the world-leading exporter of sustainable forest products.
    "The government has clearly heard the message and embraced our vision of
becoming the producers of the best quality, most innovative and greenest
forest products in the world. And it understands that in order to get there
Canada needs to attract investment and secure the jobs of nearly 300,000
skilled Canadians forest workers and the communities they work in," says Avrim
Lazar, President and CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC).
    "Access to credit is the number one issue for our industry. We are very
encouraged by the Budget measures aimed at ensuring access to credit for
Canadian businesses, particularly the expansion of the powers and financing
authorities of the EDC, and we look forward to working with the government to
determine how these measures can help our companies and workers" said Lazar.
    "The Budget investments in innovation, market promotion and research and
development signal to us the government gets it. The US housing market will
rebound and world economic growth will significantly increase the demand for
sustainable Canadian forest products. Acting now will pay big dividends down
the road," says Mr. Lazar.
    Mr. Lazar noted a number of other Budget initiatives that he says will
improve Canada's future productivity. Investments in infrastructure,
particularly transportation and border infrastructure, as well as funding for
housing for First Nations peoples - (the forestry industry is the largest
industrial employer of First Nations people across the country) - will help
the Canadian economy in the long term.
    "The investments in worker training through EI, the extension of the EI
work-sharing program and support to communities that have been affected by the
economic downturn, are welcome initiatives that will help more Canadians keep
their jobs and employers hold onto talented workers," says Mr. Lazar.
    While the extension to the accelerated capital cost allowance will
provide the industry with some incentives for new spending on capital, the
forest industry would have preferred more aggressive action on the taxation
front to encourage major investments in capital and innovation.
    "Overall we are encouraged by the direction the Budget is taking -
helping to alleviate Canada's current economic woes while keeping an eye to
future prosperity," says Mr. Lazar.

    FPAC is the voice of Canada's wood, pulp and paper producers nationally
and internationally in government, trade and environmental affairs. Canada's
forest industry is an $80-billion dollar a year industry that represents over
2% of Canada's GDP, and 12% of Canada's manufacturing GDP. The industry is one
of Canada's largest employers, operating in over 300 Canadian communities and
providing nearly 750,000 direct and indirect jobs across the country.




For further information:

For further information: Ottawa: Monica Bailey, Manager, External
Relations, Forest Products Association of Canada, (613) 563-1441, ext: 323,
Cell: (613) 878-4144, Monica.bailey@fpac.ca


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