OTTAWA, Jan. 23, 2012 /CNW/ - The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is pleased that the Minister of International Trade, Ed Fast, has today announced a two-year extension of the Softwood Lumber Agreement along with the US Trade Representative, Ron Kirk.
"The softwood agreement does provide stability and predictability in terms of getting access to our most important market, the United States," says the President and CEO of FPAC, Avrim Lazar. "The industry is of the view that at a time of ongoing market uncertainty, it is a good idea to extend the deal by another two years to provide a degree of certainty in market access to the U.S."
Lazar notes that Canadian forest companies have gone through an economically challenging time with mill closures and the job loss in the face of the global recession and the changing marketplace. The sector has had significant success in diversifying their markets especially in Asia. Wood exports to China have increased by 46 times since 2000 and the sector is now the largest Canadian exporting industry to both India and China. However the U.S. still accounts for about two-thirds of the exports of Canadian forest products.
"The truth of the matter is that by renewing this deal, the government has got it right," says Lazar.
In 2010, softwood lumber exports to the US were 9 billion board feet down from over 21.5 billion board feet in 2005.
FPAC continues to support the government's ongoing push to reach free-trade agreements with Europe and a number of individual countries in both Asia and in Latin America.
FPAC provides a voice for Canada's wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. The $57-billion-a-year forest products industry represents 2% of Canada's GDP and is one of Canada's largest employers operating in hundreds of communities and providing 240,000 direct jobs across the country.
For further information: