Doubled Duty Hammers More Nails into BC’s Value-Added Coffin

The Independent Wood Processors Association of British Columbia (IWPA) concedes the US Department of Commerce’s ruling to double the softwood lumber duty, threatens the future viability of BC’s value-added wood sector following the BC Government’s recent moratorium restricting manufacturing of ‘made in BC’ old growth wood products.

“The US Department of Commerce’s decision to double the softwood duty further injures BC’s value-added wood industry, who are innocent bystanders in this long-standing dispute between American landowners and trans-national forest tenure holders,” says Brian Menzies, IWPA executive director. “During this month, BC’s value-added wood producers have been hit hard: first by the BC Government’s immediate moratorium on raw materials from old growth trees; and now, by the US Government doubling the softwood lumber duty strangling Canadian manufacturers from selling their products to their major export market.

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced November 24 to increase the anti-dumping and countervailing duty on Canadian softwood lumber products from 8.99% to 17.9%.

“Every international dispute, including the many rounds of the Canada-US softwood lumber dispute, ends in a negotiated resolution. Any further delay to negotiate a resolution only injures the people who work at small- and medium-sized manufacturers and consumers on both sides of the border, who deserve a fair and affordable price for climate-friendly building products,” says Menzies.

“To prepare for these inevitable negotiations, the BC and Federal Government should immediately form an industry working group that includes representatives from the real casualties of this dispute, the value-added wood producers. We urge both governments to listen to our plea to save the value-added industry and to act immediately before the last wood product we make is our own coffin," says Menzies.

Old Growth Deferrals Hurts Value-Added Sector Hardest

BC Government’s decision to halt harvesting is devastating news for British Columbia’s value-added wood processors and the thousands of people they employ.

“The BC Government’s harvesting deferrals will have an immediate and disproportionate impact on BC's value-added sector,” said Brian Menzies, Executive Director of the BC Independent Wood Processors Association. “This decision is completely counter to the BC Government’s goal of transitioning the industry from high volume to high value.”

“Unfortunately, the BC Government has chosen to make this devastating decision without understanding how this will impact the small- and medium-sized businesses that do not have tenure and must purchase their raw materials on the open market,” said Menzies. “The BC Government has yet to undertake a social-economic analysis to understand how this decision will impact the lives of the men and women who work in this sector and there is no policy supports to help transition the value-added industry.”

“Value-added wood processors will be further hurt by the government’s decision to immediately end old growth harvesting in their BC Timber Sales program, the only opportunity for small- and medium-sized businesses to directly acquire timber,” said Menzies. “I don’t understand why the BC Government has not thought this through and created a transition period for the most adversely affected sector, BC’s value-added wood processors.”