Forest Products Industry Welcomes Unanimous Committee Report



    - Provides Government with Initiatives for Immediate Action -

    OTTAWA, June 3 /CNW/ - The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC)
today welcomed the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources'
report and urged the government to take immediate action to implement the
Report's key recommendations.
    "The forest industry in Canada is focused on its tremendous future
potential," said FPAC President and CEO Avrim Lazar. "Economic growth in
developing nations and increased pressure on the world's resources will create
significant demand for high quality, sustainably produced Canadian forest
products. To capitalize on this future opportunity, government and industry
must invest now in working together to create a competitive and sustainable
industry."
    In this context, FPAC strongly applauds the report, and its focus on how
to create winning conditions for the industry in the future. In particular,
FPAC supports the recommendations to:

    
    -   Encourage capital investment and innovation by extending the
        Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance and making SR&ED tax credits
        refundable;
    -   Develop an intermodal transportation strategy;
    -   Invest in R&D and innovation;
    -   Work with industry to put Canada at the forefront of the new
        opportunities in bioenergy, biorefineries and biochemicals by
        extending the ecoEnergy program and investing in R&D;
    -   Expand initiatives to develop new markets for wood products overseas
        and to promote wood as a sustainable building product;
    -   Assess whether the Competition Bureau is properly assessing mergers
        in the industry; and
    -   Take into account the industry's dramatic reductions in greenhouse
        gas and other emissions since 1990 in developing new emissions
        regulations.
    

    "While industry has to take leadership in transforming itself to meet the
challenges of the future, government plays a pivotal role in establishing the
conditions to allow for that transformation. The industry is strongly
encouraged that all four parties were able to unanimously support the report
and its recommendations. This sends a very clear signal to the government that
the Opposition would be very supportive of government action relating to the
Committee's recommendations," says Lazar.
    The Committee's study and report comes as the industry grapples with one
of the most difficult economic situations in its history. The sector is under
pressure from structural and cyclical changes in wood and paper markets, the
unprecedented rate of appreciation in the value of the Canadian dollar, and
weak economic conditions in the United States, Canada's largest trading
partner. Nevertheless, over the medium to longer term, Canada's forest
products industry has the potential to realize unprecedented opportunities in
the marketplace, as global GDP is set to double in the next 20 years and
consumers will increasingly demand sustainably-made products.
    The industry has moved significantly over the recent period to adjust and
this report coupled with a unanimous Report of the Industry Committee and the
industry's own Task Force Report all provide very concrete measures the
Government could undertake that would greatly improve the industry's overall
competitive position.

    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. The industry is one of Canada's largest employers,
operating in over 300 Canadian communities and providing nearly 900,000 direct
and indirect jobs across the country.





For further information:

For further information: Andrew Casey, Vice President, Government
Relations and Communications, Forest Products Association of Canada, (613)
563-1441 x: 312, (613) 862-8403 (cell), acasey@fpac.ca; Jeremy Dunn, Curve
Communications, (604) 684-3170, (604) 726-8350 (cell),
jeremy@curvecommunications.com; Laura Ballance, Curve Communications, (604)
684-3170, (604) 771-5176 (cell), laura@curvecommunications.com


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